1st Globe Life Field HR? Nope, Rox OF robs it

July 26th, 2020

The Rockies list at 5-foot-11 -- not tall in a sport that has quietly become a big man’s game.

They also call him an infielder, but that’s not all he plays.

Hampson played left field real big in the first inning Saturday. He rushed to the wall in left-center field and leaped to rob Rangers leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo of a probable home run, which would have been the first at new Globe Life Field. The play was huge in a 3-2 Rockies victory.

And Hampson played it off brilliantly, at first acting as if he didn’t have the ball, then showing it and wagging his finger toward his teammates.

“He kind of gave me a little bit of a scare,” said Colorado starter Jon Gray, who threw the hanging breaking ball and nearly became a Rangers trivia answer. “I didn’t think he caught it at first. Then, he shows the ball and everybody started going crazy.

“It was freaking awesome. Cool to see, especially in the beginning of the game.”

Hampson, who played shortstop at Long Beach State before being selected in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft, has become a man of many positions. Last season, he played 33 games in the outfield, including 20 starts in center field. Saturday was only his third career start in left.

Hampson also doubled in the eighth and scored on a David Dahl single for an important extra run.

It wasn’t the first time Hampson made a leaping catch at the wall, nor was it his first dramatic pause after doing so.

Last Sept. 13, Hampson was playing center when the Padres’ Greg Garcia sent one deep. Hampson’s catch may or may not have prevented a homer. But he was cool about whether he had the ball.

So, why not be dramatic again this time?

“What an athletic play,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We’ve seen that from ‘Hampy’ in Colorado. I think he made a good play at home last year in center field.

“He’s got some ups. He timed it terrific and made a great play.”