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September 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm ET
The Greatest Catch Never Made?

Clint Barmes made a catch on Sunday that may end up saving the season for the 2009 Colorado Rockies.  (Video)

Or did he?

You tell me…

barmescatchDon’t show this to Tony “Tape Measure” La Russa or Bobby Cox.

I don’t think Ryan Spilborghs was in a position to see what we saw in those photos, but his immediate pointing towards first base is probably what sold the umpire to make the out call.

Great job, Spilly.

Big kudos to the Denver Post’s Hyoung Chang and Post reader Craig Welling for their awesome photography.

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49 Responses to “The Greatest Catch Never Made?”
  1. Asif Adam says:

    the ball drop on the ground it should be a base hit.

    • brian davidson says:

      Just wish baseball players were as honest as golfers! The culture in golf is honesty and integrity over cheating even if it cost you big big bucks. In Baseball you try and get away with what you can no matter what’s on the line or how deceitful you have to be. In fact, being deceitful in baseball is often referred to as being a smart player! Interesting the varying perspectives of a baseball player and a golfer. I could have cared less who won this game just an advocate for integrity being brought back as a high value in sports today. It starts from the top and goes down. Is your integrity worth a dropped ball?

  2. jack says:

    Looks like a photoshop job, ball is much too small.

  3. Mike says:

    Sorry Jack, Not a photoshop job. The ball is not too small, YOURS ARE.

  4. Wil says:

    Whether it is photoshop or not, the call was made and they move on. Now you should!!!

  5. doug says:

    look how this cheater came up and started to throw to second base and then and only then, after having first base pointed out, did he throw to first. he knew he did not catch this ball. that is why he instinctly started to throw to the correct base. CHEATER

  6. Wil says:

    I agree he didnt catch the ball. He even looked like he should say something. But the fact of the matter is the call was made, he didnt fess up and life goes on. he will have to live with what he did knowing it was the wrong thing to do. He know kids look up to them now he is saying it is ok to chat and lie.

  7. David says:

    I agree, seems doctored, for other reasons: If you look at top photo, we see the player from a very low angle; note how close together the grass cutting lines appear. Then in the photo where the ball supposedly hit the ground, look how wide the grass patches look. This was obviously taken from a higher angle. Could one’s photo angle have changed that quickly, in the fraction of a second it took the ball to fall that final 1 foot? Of course the shooter could have stood up, but would the angle change that much? Standing vs. sitting would add only the distance from knee to hip, 2ft or less, right? Another fact is that in the left half of second picture, grass is green, but in right half, grass seems to be either faded or a different shade of green.

  8. Wil says:

    cheat and lie

  9. Wil says:

    i agree with the look of the photo but you always get strange things on cameras. Could have been the lighting on the lens or something else.

  10. jim nolan says:

    The video clearly shows the ball going into the player’s glove. This is an altered photo and you should not have given it any credibility by showing it. That is what is most dangerous about the media. Where is your independent investigation??

  11. Wil says:

    i would like to see the whole series of photos from the camera he took it from. And see if it is possible to get the angle change or if these came from different cameras and people. Remember these were sent in and we dont know if they all came from the same person. They could have compiled the best shots from multiple photographers.

  12. sam says:

    He didn’t catch the ball. He did not look like he wanted to celebrate after that play. His behavior was quite odd for someone who supposedly made an amazing play that saved their season. He looked awfully shifty afterwards instead of elated.

  13. Baseball Mel says:

    Look closely at his glove. Look between the Index Finger and the middle finger. It appears as though the ball is in his glove. You can see what appears to be the seams of the ball. What is on the ground could be a piece of paper, something that came off of Barmes, or just about anything else.

  14. Homer says:

    After closely watching the video and considering the photo I find there’s no way he could have popped up as quick as he did with ball in hand. The balls under his left shoulder and his hand is in his glove. No way he could have pulled that ball off the ground like that in that position so quickly. I’m not going to say he caught it our not all I’m saying is that photo is defiantly a fake.

  15. Jakemac says:

    The 1st photo is real, the second photo is not. I was at the game on the 1st base line 3 rows back I had an absolutely perfect view. I honestly think he didn’t catch the ball in his glove but it landed on his body and rolled into his hand, still technically a catch, which means still officially ball game over.

  16. doug says:

    again i agree with the call being made. the grass is different. AND he will have to live with this for a long time. BUT ,these guysare pros. he knew if he missed this catch his throw was to second base. Can’t argue with that

  17. David says:

    My comment could be wrong, though – the photos are from two sources, one from newspaperman and one from the fan, and like another said, the grass fading I mentioned could be camera or film issue; I don’t know enough about either to say.

  18. Rene says:

    I don’t think that is the ball on the field, if you notice how he had to get up to throw the ball you would have notices some time of effort to reclaim the ball had it been so far out of his glove….

  19. doug says:

    go back and watch it one time. also watch the right fielder appear as if he is going to reach down and pick up the ball. and with taht ,enuff said

  20. karen says:

    I love how the second shot you cant see anything really The face looks like the eyes are about to pop out of the head. Cant be the real thing and if it is oh well game over it was called the way it was.

  21. pncmsing says:

    This is exactly why baseball and football aren’t in the same league as golf. These guys are natural born liars, with no ethics within one million miles of them. Still love the game though.

  22. sam says:

    Um, perhaps someone noticed that once he gets up, there is nothing on the field- so the “it could be a piece of paper or trash theory” is garbage in and of itself. Unless he also miraculously did his part to curb littering during the play and picked the trash up with lightning quickness as well. But these photos were posted by a Rockies fan on his Rockies fan blog, as evidence of an amazing play- the photographer was not aware that these photos would be used to discredit Barmes’ play . It is unlikely that the photographer who took these pictures intended to cause any trouble for the Rockies, and is even more unlikely to have doctored them to make it look like Barmes DIDN’T make the catch, so that theory is now garbage also. The reason the resolution is so bad is because the small portion of the picture showing the ball on the field has been magnified several times, which causes distortion in the clarity and color of the image. It does not, however, place things in the picture that weren’t there before. (Plus, anyone who watches a game can see the alternating gradations of green in the grass’ field patterns, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the blown-up portion representing maybe 5-10% of the photo’s entire image shows two different shades of green in the grass- that makes it AUTHENTIC, not suspicious). There is no question that the ball hit the ground, so let’s move on from these delusional fantasies that suggest otherwise and accept that sometime sporting teams will do dishonest things to get ahead.

  23. Ken says:

    Its not a “dishonest thing” that he did..whether he caught the ball or not, his job is to sell the catch. Its the umpires responsibility to make the right call, not a players.

    I can’t say one way or the other about the photos but I do agree with the person who said that if he did pick it up off the ground during that roll..he did it flawlessly and seamlessly. His body positioning and the balls position doesn’t lend itself to being picked up while rolling unless the ball is already in the glove.

  24. sam says:

    Okay, in what world is claiming to do something that you didn’t do, for the purpose of personal gain, considered “honest”? Let’s call a spade a spade here. “Selling the catch” is akin to convincing someone you have accomplished something you did not. That is dishonest, any way you cut it. Just because the divining authority doesn’t catch doesn’t make it honest.

    Also, that ball was not sitting stationary on the ground. It was moving, so it might not have required any real effort on his part, it could also have bounced right back into his possession. It might not even be that impressive that he got the ball back so quickly. It doesn’t even look like he ever caught it at all, judging from the picture immediately before, where the ball seems to be passing under his forearm.

  25. theresa says:

    i should have known they were cheaters and now here is the prove cardinals got screwed out of a win

  26. Mike says:

    The series was lousy with poor calls and dishonesty is, unfortunatly, part of the game. How many times, on both sides, did the catcher stand up and say “Sorry, ump, that was outside and should be ball 4″? When, on two possible occasions, did a Cardinals base runner say when tagged out but called safe “Sorry, ump, he got me clean”? You will never see this, and the players are not expected to do this.

    This happens in sports and is why the referee was invented. You can’t argue this situation in a vacuum.

    Did Holliday touch home in 2007? Probably not. Red Sox sweep the World Series. Sports Karma at work.

  27. Craig says:


    You state he came up looking to throw to 2nd, I disagree. He caught the ball then came up looking at where the runner on 3rd was. His thought was on the lead runner as that was the tying score. When the RF came over and told him to throw to first to get the double play, he did.

    There’s no reaching by the RF for the ball, just you reaching for a reason to dispute the catch.

    I’ve seen lots of players not overly celebrate after making a defensive play to end a game. His reaction has no relevence to this.

  28. denny says:

    Barmes popped-up and had the initial intention of throwing home to stop the runner on 3rd from tying the game, thinking Pujoles would have stayed safely on first. However, Pujoles made the running error by thing Barmes would not catch the ball, and therefore, Pujoles wanted to advance to 3rd, in order to take a chance on winning the game. A base in the hand is better than two and a loss. Pujoles gambled and lost. Even if the umps had instant-replay, they wouldn’t have overturned it (although St. Louis, nevertheless, should have had only two outs because the head-long slide into 1st by guy before was safe on Tulowitzki’s throw from near 3rd.

  29. jojomonkey says:

    Someone should put him in a headlock and buff shine his bald head for cheating……..

  30. anotherfan says:

    Bad call? Possibly. Do players cheat? On Tuesday’s Royals-Yankees game an outfielder trapped a ball that bounced two feet in front of him but he still tried to sell the catch. Did J. Robinson steal home against Yogi? It depends on who you ask. In the end, the game’s over. Too bad so many great umpires where fired because of ‘The Strike’. This year especially there’s been so many bad calls in so many games. I’m glad the Home Run Replay Rule fixes one issue. But I hope this remains the only time they go to the “video tape.”

  31. kpmcginn says:

    This is a fake. If you rewatch the video he it tumbling over incredibly fast. It is possible in that situation that he could roll over onto the ball to pick it up in one swift motion. But look where his hand is. Inside the glove. There is no way he was able to pull his hand out of his glove that quickly to pick up the ball on his rough and quick tumble. Obviously he has caught it at this point.

    Also, cheater? Really? This is not cheating. Is a catcher trying to frame a pitch cheating? Is a player a cheat if he’s tagged out on a close play but he’s called safe? If he did drop the ball and picked it up to make it look like he caught it, that’s good smart baseball. What person here would say “Uh actually guys, I dropped it. Tie game.”

  32. alle says:

    If this guy cheated is he no better than the idiots who used steriods?

    Is he the same as Pete Rose cheating and betting?

    Cheating is cheating is cheating.

    If there is proff should he not be fined?

    Where does the line draw?

  33. caleb says:

    cheap cameras like the one the photo was taken with always cause imperfections. they catch light and make smudges, like that white object, appear. not saying this is the case but a good possibility.

    • don says:

      That photo basically couldn’t be taken with a cheap camera. It’s a zoomed shot of something moving fast – if you didn’t have at least a fairly good camera it would be an unrecognizable blur.

      And to the people zooming all the way in to look for evidence of photoshopping – it’s a jpg for the web. You’re going to have all sorts of compression artifacts. It’s not a lossless image format. If you actually have and use Photoshop you know this already, of course.

      That doesn’t prove it’s not doctored, just that you can’t tell from that picture.

  34. Jeremiah says:

    How is this cheating? If you look at the whole sequence originally posted in the other blog, there is only one shot where the ball was on the ground. Either it was photoshopped, or the ball bounced and then jumped up into his hand. As he was rolling over, he couldn’t tell where the ball was going. All he knows is that he bobbled it, but it was in his hand when he came up.

    Sure, the umps make mistakes, but there is no way they could have called that play any differently. On all of the replays, it looks like he caught it. There is only one shot that says any differently. The umps have to work with what they can see, and sometimes they can’t see everything. You deal with the call and move on. They made at least three bad calls against the Rockies in that series; it tends to even out in the end.

  35. CHEATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    He did not catch that ball and he knows it!!!!!!!!!!! He was going to throw to the 2nd base but he had someone telling him what to do so he reacted. He needs to come clean. Of coures all the replays are going to show he caught it they are at the Rockies, and are not at the same area the pictures were taken. Also the pictures are not going to look the same they are from two different cameras so yeah blades of grass blah blah blah… and photoshopped.. the one on with the BALL clearly on the ground was from a ROCKIE FAN! The first picture even shows the ball on his arm NOT in his glove. When he got up he was holding both arms in close to his body holding the ball in his hand up next to his body. Not his hand on the ball in his glove. Trash, that was the dumbest reasoning I have read, rethink it. And as far as the scoreboard goes, the Cards where down by one with one out. If this call would of been made right who really knows. We will see how the rest of the season turns out… GO CARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rox says:

      Cheaters??? Your kidding me right? Guarantee if the tables were turned and it were Albert Pujols, I don’t think you Card fans would be calling Pujols out on cheating. I agree with another post, when a player steals a base and is called safe, he doesn’t pop up and say, “Ump I was clearly out, you made a bad call”. People need to grow up. Did it affect the Cards getting into the playoffs? Cheater!?!?!? Come up with something more original.

  36. Look Closer says:

    If you look the first photo is very clear, despite the movement. So we know adjustments have been made to the digital camera to ensure the clearest picture possible is achieved; as we all adjust our cameras when we take pictures of events we consider important. But the second picture is very blury, also his hand is in his glove. How could he have gotten his hand out of his glove and grabbed the ball alleged to be on the ground in such a short time? AND IF HE MISSED THE BALL WHY WOULD HE BE HOLDING HIS HAND IN HIS GLOVE? It appears this photo has been doctored so a gentleman could claim his 15 minutes of fame.

  37. Rox says:

    Cheaters??? Your kidding me right? Guarantee if the tables were turned and it were Albert Pujols, I don’t think you Card fans would be calling Pujols out on cheating. I agree with another post, when a player steals a base and is called safe, he doesn’t pop up and say, “Ump I was clearly out, you made a bad call”. People need to grow up. Did it affect the Cards getting into the playoffs? Cheater!?!?!? Come up with something more original.

  38. clay says:

    Umps made the call; double play. They blow calls all the time, whats the big deal. Players will never, and I mean never cop to an error in their favor by the umps. Any of you people actually play ball? Move on.

  39. Scott Cards Fan says:

    As some one who was at the game and sitting in row 9 close to the dugout on the first base side, near the catch, I saw the ball bounce out of his hands when it hit his glove. I keep waiting for the ball to pop out since it was obviously being bobbled. I am not surprised that it might of been on the ground at some point but it bounces up into his hand or he was able to hold it into his body while he bobbled it does not matter. The umpire was not in position to see what happened after Barmes landed on the ground, nor would it be possible to be in proper position. From where I was sitting it looked like a catch, albeit aided by possible ground help. The ump made the best call he could. If there was a NFL style review then it probably would not of been a catch since he did not have control when he hit the ground, but that is the NFL. Was Albert wrong for being doubled off no he would of been out either way if he was only half way, and probably out if it was not a catch because he was only half way. The umps out call would of been to late for him to get back before the throw which was perfect.

  40. Steve R says:

    Watch the video. This is not a sliding catch as the photos make it look – its a full speed barrel roll. He clearly comes up with the ball in the glove. The mechanics of his rolling over top the ball and picking it up in his glove would be impossible.

    As to the reason he stood up and looked at second base – think about it. Any former little leaguer knows that you look for your cut-off man (Tulowitzki). Remember that he just turned a somersault facing the outfield wall. He had no idea where Pujols was.

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