09/09/2004 9:30 PM ET
Thomas benefits from odd miscue
Phillies' Michaels knocks ball over fence with glove
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
|Jason Michaels' glove turned Charles Thomas' long drive to center field into a fourth-inning round-tripper. (TBS)
Thomas homers off a glove: 56K | 350K
ATLANTA -- When it comes to baseball-related activities, there are many ways in which being lumped into the same company as Jose Canseco wouldn't be a bad thing. That is, unless you're Phillies center fielder Jason Michaels, who will now find himself on the same blooper reels as Canseco.
While Canseco's head was the focal point of a blooper- turned-homer, it was Michaels' glove that turned Braves left fielder Charles Thomas' long drive to center field into a fourth-inning roundtripper during the Phillies' 9-4 win at Turner Field on Thursday night.
"I was at a loss for words," Michaels said. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?' I almost didn't think it was real. I thought about Jose Canseco right away. I think he was No. 1 on the [ESPN] blunders for their 25 years."
As Michaels raced toward the center-field wall with his back turned to the infield, he leaped, tipped the ball downward, then while attempting to catch it in an upward motion with his glove, flipped it over the wall.
"It's just one of those quirky plays," Thomas said. "As I was heading toward third, I saw [Braves third-base coach] Fredi Gonzalez waving me as if it were an inside-the-park home run, and then I saw the umpire signal home run and I didn't know what had happened."
When second base umpire Larry Vanover signaled home run, the Braves' bench erupted in laughter and celebration. Meanwhile Michaels and the Phillies stood in disbelief like Canseco and his Rangers teammates did on May 26, 1993.
Braves first baseman Julio Franco was playing for the Rangers that evening at Arlington Stadium, when Canseco raced toward the center-field wall, only to have the Indians' Carlos Martinez's homer bounce off his head and over the fence for a home run.
"The difference in this one is that he flipped the ball a long way," Franco said. "With Canseco's, as he went back, the ball hit him and it just went over the fence. This guy flipped it over the fence."
If there is a resident expert when it comes to baseball, it is the 46-year-old Franco, who made his Major League debut in 1982 and has played professionally in the United States, Japan, Korea and Mexico. Through all his travels, he's never seen anything like he witnessed at Turner Field on Thursday night.
"There are some things in baseball that are hard to see," Franco said. "I don't think you'll ever see that one again."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.