This is always a popular category for GIFs: baseball players being awful at their job. Look at these baseball players! They're horrible! Everybody point and laugh!
It's really hard to pick a favorite here, but there's an obvious winner. The rest of them are basically ties. Each one of these holds a special place in my heart. Sadly, I did not make the greatest GIF of all time, or else it would be in this category.
9. David Dejesus has a bad few seconds
It's not that he almost got hit by a stray bullpen ball. It's not that he had to bail out because of a ball thrown at his feet. It's that both happened within two seconds of each other that makes this GIF perfect. Also, there's a Cubs factor that makes it six percent better.
8. The Decline and Fall of Chad Qualls
The face! Look at the face! He's so calm, so serene. If you were to capture slow-motion video of any of us falling down, you can be sure that our eyes would bug out in terror the whole time. Even if Chad Qualls were on a Japanese game show titled "You Are About to Fall Through a Trap Door!" and someone yelled, "Hey! You're about to fall through a trap door!", this still wouldn't have been nearly enough surprise. It's creepy.
7. LoMo was almost no more
Mike Stanton killed a man like this once. Giancarlo Stanton pretends he doesn't know what you're talking about when you ask him about it, and he would like you to get off his property or he'll call the cops.
6. Joaquin Arias is just a little late on the fastball
I almost didn't include this because it's not a super obvious one. But it's a creeper. Give it time. It's almost certainly the most hypnotic one of the bunch. You almost wonder if this is some sort of GIF trickery, as if there's something wrong with the frame rate. But then you watch everything other than Arias's swing, and you can tell this isn't slowed down. It's just the swing of a man holding a bat made of collapsing star matter.
5. Kelly Shoppach is 1405 stolen bases behind Rickey Henderson for the record
Would you have guessed that Kelly Shoppach didn't have a stolen base in his career before that one? Oh, you would have? Okay. Carry on. If I were a manager, I'd send him every time, hoping for a repeat of that slide. I would be a horrible manager, but I would be entertaining. Kind of like the Bobby Valentine of managing.
4. Barry Zito amuses Carlos Quentin
The pitch is funny, of course. But the reactions of Quentin, Zito, and the umpire are almost better. You almost expect Posey to do the sarcastic "come on" hand gesture from Major League.
3. Shane Victorino exists
2. Jose Altuve never reaches second base
Looks like he came up …
… just a little short.
I've heard some people say this GIF isn't complete without the conclusion of the play, which is the right fielder winging it 50 feet above the catcher. And I've seen versions of the GIF that are sped up, Benny Hill-style, in an attempt to get it all in.
Nonsense. You don't need an additional error to make this one sing. It's people colliding, Matt Downs trying to jump on the grenade, and a ball thrown down the line. It's perfect. If you want to read more about the play, by all means. It deserves greater scrutiny. It's rare that a team's entire season can fit in a single GIF. But here you go. The 2012 Astros.