5. The Tarp Catch – CHC v. MIL, 2015
Throughout Rizzo’s time in Chicago, he has pretty consistently played Gold Glove caliber defense, earning three such awards during his career. This was yet another example of his amazing athleticism at first base.
During a 2015 game against the Brewers, Ryan Braun popped up a ball that should have landed foul in the stands. The Wrigley Field tarp blocked the part of the wall where the ball was about to land just past. No tarp, however, could save Braun from being called out as Rizzo climbed on top on top of it and leaned into the crowd to make a spectacular catch.
What’s insane about this catch is that it isn’t even the only time he’s done it. A year later, he instead climbed the wall itself to reach in and nab a Keon Broxton pop-up. Naturally, the Brewers must have been pretty frustrated by Rizzo who just couldn’t not get them out.
Still, I really love the tarp catch. It demonstrates Rizzo’s willingness to go above and beyond most players, seeing obstacles in the way of his catch as mere stepping stones. It’s part of what makes him such a good defender at first base.
Is this a bit of reckless disregard for one’s own safety for the sake of making a catch? Perhaps. Then again, I doubt Rizzo would have attempted to climb the tarp if he didn’t see a chance for a play to be made. If he lands in the stands, he just makes more memories for those up close to witness it.