Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida
By ANDREW ASTLEFORD  |  Last updated 7/30/13
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It was less than 24 hours after his dramatic throw, one that preserved a memorable Tampa Bay Rays victory and caused a firestorm throughout the country. Outfielder Sam Fuld was standing near his locker Tuesday afternoon at Tropicana Field, following a long but satisfying road trip, his team in first place in the American League East because of his strong left arm and a little luck. Over time, Fuld has earned the nickname "Super Sam" because of moments like these. On Monday night, with one out and the Rays clinging to a 2-1 lead at a charged Fenway Park, he caught a fly ball from Brandon Snyder in left field and fired a bullet toward home plate, doing a cartwheel in the process. The ball skipped into catcher Jose Molina's glove before a tag was placed on the sliding Daniel Nava. Nava was called out, though the debate only began there. Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected arguing the call. Umpire Jerry Meals, whose view was blocked on the play, later admitted that Nava's left leg slipped into home plate ahead of Molina's pursuit. On Tuesday afternoon, Fuld shrugged. "It's not the first time I've thrown a guy out," he said. "It's definitely one of the bigger throws I've made in my career. ... I practice that. I take a lot of pride in not just making catches but in my ability to throw runners out." It is only July, but Fuld's throw was a moment fit for October. As the weeks have passed, it has become more obvious that the Rays are built for the long haul. The reasons vary. The starting pitching, sparked by David Price's return from the disabled list, has become some of the most consistent in the majors. The defense, bolstered by strong additions like Yunel Escobar and James Loney, is sound on most occasions. The relief pitching, starring closer Fernando Rodney and setup man Joel Peralta, has recovered from previous spotty stretches. Breaks seem to fall favorably when a team is on a roll, and to many in the Rays clubhouse, there was a touch of karma involved with Fuld's throw. Tampa Bay was involved in a number of iffy calls early, most notably a game-ending strike against Ben Zobrist against the Texas Rangers in April that appeared low and outside. In the season's opening months, Tampa Bay found ways to lose in gut-wrenching fashion, some cuts deeper than others. This time, a borderline moment went the Rays' way. "It totally reminds me of earlier this season with the called third strike against Zo, when we were in Texas," Fuld said. "We just had to swallow that pill and move on. If he calls him safe there (in Boston), it's 2-2. The game's not over. It's still anybody's game." Fuld's play was not made by chance. At least once a week, he practices throws like the one Tuesday with infielderoutfielder Kelly Johnson and infielderoutfielder Sean Rodriguez. He knows the stage for such moments does not come often, but he wants to be prepared for when the opportunity presents itself. As for Meals' call, others within the Rays had the same reaction as Fuld: That is baseball, sometimes quirky, other times inexplicable. Molina said, simply, "That's the game." Manager Joe Maddon said he gained respect for Meals after the umpire admitted his error. "How many times did that happen to us and we just had to turn the page and keep going?" Molina said. "It is Boston and everybody is making it a bigger deal. Just stop the crying. Just stop crying. Just keep going and play the game." Of course, there are plenty more games left to be played this season. Fuld's throw and Meals' call contributed to a Twitter spat between the two teams (the Red Sox's jab went below the attendance belt), refreshed debate about replay's value and offered another reminder that baseball is a game of ebb and flow, each moment contributing to a larger whole. A guarantee: The American League East race will include more tension, more memories, with each passing week. Before settling in to prepare for another step in that journey, Fuld smiled a bit when asked if the heated reaction to the call after his throw surprised him. The play was one moment of many that define a season. Still, this was extra sweet. "That's the way things go now," he said of the attention. "I don't try to get caught up in the Twittersphere very much. But it doesn't surprise me at all." It is only July. But on a steamy night in Boston, it felt much, much later. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Forrest Lamp signs deal to endorse lamp manufacturer

Tom Hanks taking ‘NFL moratorium’ when Raiders leave Oakland

Ex-Obama adviser touts Theo Epstein as potential candidate

Report: 49ers are not buying the Mitch Trubisky-to-Browns talk

Report: Browns source calls Garrett best draft talent in six years

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jaguars reportedly interested in Deshaun Watson at No. 4

Report: Teams believe Browns somehow will get Trubisky

JJ Watt offers to help pay Rockets owner’s fine

WATCH: Birthday boy Aaron Judge homers and makes spectacular catch at Fenway

Predators rookie Kevin Fiala carted off and hospitalized after gruesome collision

Warriors invite members of ‘We Believe’ team to playoff game

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Box Score 4/27: Waiting for Goodell to call our name

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern rivalries take center stage

Marshawn Lynch gives an already-spurned city hometown appeal

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'Bonehead blunder that watered down the 1931 AL home run crown' quiz

Draft prospects we're most excited to see in the NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker