BSN Exclusive: How Jeff Hoffman became a value... on the bases

Drew Creasman Avatar
June 4, 2019

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The Colorado Rockies, Bud Black is fond of reminding us, have a rule.

In fact, it’s called Rule Number One: Be Ready For Anything.

On May 30, in the bottom of the ninth, Jeff Hoffman had to be ready for a moment that he had never experienced before as a baseball player.

He was called upon to pinch-run.

“Never done that before!” he tells BSN Denver. “There have been times Buddy has told me to go get my spikes on just in case the situation came up but it never did…until this time and luckily I was ready.”

Not only was he suddenly thrust into a new job he had never done, he was asked to do it with the game on the line, representing the winning run.

“Obviously I’ve run the bases before, he added. “But never in that kind of situation in the big leagues. But yeah it was fun.”

You dream as a young ballplayer about coming through in the big moment for your team, and while Hoffman certainly envisioned himself on the mound in those dreams, it occurred to him once he reached second base that this was such a moment.

“That moment hit me when I was standing at second base with Desi up to bat,” he says. And that’s when the nerves set in.

“I remember thinking ‘Just make sure you don’t get picked.’ They know they’ve got a pitcher on base but I had my heartbeat under control because that would have been terrible.”

Desmond drew a walk to load the bases, allowing Hoffman to take third without a fuss. And then the moment of truth arrived.

“Stu (Cole) was telling me just before that to get back and get ready on a flyball in case he needed to send me. Then I did and he gave me the OK, so I just took off.”

And Tony Wolters didn’t make it easy for him. A line drive in the gap or a homer would have been nice, Hoffman admits, but he was ready to tag up and run the most important 90 feet of his MLB career.

“He made me earn it,” Hoffman quipped.

As unusual as the moment was – almost nobody would have predicted he would score the winning run that morning – it wasn’t inconceivable as long as everyone in the clubhouse remembered Rule Number One.

“Buddy likes to use his guys off the bench in a lot of different ways and I’d like to think of myself as a decent athlete,” Hoffman says. “So this was something that I figured could potentially happen…but I still didn’t know what I was doing once I was out there!”

It might not have been the most comfortable moment of Jeff Hoffman’s life or career but it was certainly one he will never forget.

 

 

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