Ok, this post is a tad late, but I am going to go with it anyhow. After Sunday night's game, there were numerous references to the straight steal of home by Jacoby Ellsbury as "the most exciting play in baseball". As the days passed I put some thought into this, and have decided that this is not correct. The straight steal of home happens quickly. There is very little structural drama. It either works or it doesn't. It is one of the most daring plays in baseball, and it is, for a brief second, dramatic and exciting. But is it really the most exciting? Is it any more exciting than any other close play at the plate? Couldn't one (and one will, right now) argue that a batted ball to a gap, a relay, a close play at the dish is even more exciting, such as it contains numerous components that have to work in sequence and in concert, has more moving parts, and ascends, in developing fashion, to a climactic moment? Isn't that build-up an essential element of drama, of greater excitement?
I suppose the counter argument might be that this is a play that requires no batted ball, it is a play instigated by the runner in control of the moment, and therefore of qualitative difference. It is a play that doesn't rely on moving parts or external circumstances but rather the simple swashbuckling play of a single player. But I am not sure that the analysis has been that subtle or nuanced; the cliche repeated this week is that the straight steal of home is the most exciting play in baseball, without qualification. It wasn't referred to as "the single most exciting play in baseball in which the ball isn't batted", or something like that. What do people think? More interestingly, what is the most exciting play you have ever been present to witness, and why? Offer anecdotes in the comments.