The baseball season is just around the corner, and in yesterday’s spring training game between the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox, we got another reason to be excited for its return – a rare triple play.

With Tony Cruz up to bat and runners on first and second, the Royals tried a hit and run. Both runners went on contact, but Cruz popped up to outfielder Jason Coats. Both runners were caught, as Coats quickly relayed the ball to the infield as the White Sox tagged second for the out, threw the ball to first and touched the base for the triple play.

Coats sounded thrilled after the game, telling he got lucky on the play.

“I just got lucky,” said a smiling Coats. “All I had to do was get it into the infield, and it was an easy triple play. I thought off the bat it might be a little bit in front of me.

“But then it just carried enough to me. Once I caught it, both the guys were at the next base, so all I had to do was toss it into the infield.”

That’s not a bad MLB moment for Coats, who has yet to make his MLB debut.

There are only a few plays that rival the excitement of a triple play.

  • An inside-the-park home run (The Royals managed one of those in the same game).
  • A walk-off home run
  • A home run stealing catch
  • A triple steal
  • A game-ending (or series ending) strikeout

But the triple play is quite rare. It’s possible the play could be the only triple play Coats is a part of for his entire career. It may be just another spring training game to some, but it’s a big deal. According to SABR’s triple play database, there were only four triple plays in MLB all last season, six in 2014 and just one in 2013. That chart doesn’t track spring training, but still, it’s incredibly rare. Think about this: with 30 MLB teams each playing 162 games on average nine innings (give or take a rain-shortened game or a game or home win before the ninth) and there are more than 43,000 chances for a triple play each year. Enjoy this one, White Sox. It may be a while before you get another.

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.