long before any of us were born, the common term for a stupid play in baseball was "boner" -- as in "boneheaded play" -- and the idiom was "to pull a boner" (e.g., "he really pulled a boner when he forgot to tag the runner"). a web site called etymology online claims the term originated in baseball slang, though i am skeptical; the entry dates the earliest known use of "boner" to 1908, which was the year of the most famous boner ever, that belonging to fred merkle. but the various writers who applied the term to merkle's gaffe used it quite familiarly, as if "boner" were a commonly understood word and not some new and exotic expression. it seems as though boner must have arisen some time earlier, and not necessarily in diamond slang. (by the way, if we still trust etymonline, "boner" didn't gain erectile associations until the 1950s . . . . .)
why my fixation on "boner" (aside from the fact i'm a guy, you mean)? because abe nunez's adventure on the basepaths in the 4th inning yesterday was so gloriously, primordially stupid that only a primordial word like "boner" can justly describe it. nunez and molina evoked laurel and hardy out there between 1st and 2d -- inspired incompetence, raised to the level of art. the rest of the cards were more like the three stooges -- crude slapstick practitioners who used every transparent contrivance in the book to inflict pain upon themselves -- and all for a coupla chuckles. 0-2 hanging curve to jason bay? 6 double plays? four runs scored on 11 hits and 8 walks? only things missing were a monkey wrench to clamp down on tlr's nose and an anvil to drop off a high shelf onto bill dewitt's head (cue chirping-bird sound effects).
since so much of comedy depends upon visual cues, i thought i'd extend the laughs with a win-expectancy chart (click on image to get larger view):
folks, that's comedy. and in a sisyphean vein, no? they rolled that rock up to 85 percent win expectancy by the 3d, watched it tumble back down, pushed it back slow and steady to 96 percent in the bottom of the 8th only to chase it back down; pushed the sucker back up double-time to about 83 percent in the bottom of the 9th; and then, starting all the way at the bottom in the last of the 10th, still got it a third of the way up (39 percent) . . . . . . . (don't know what win expectancy is? read this)
the game does qualify as a perfect-world win (see left sidebar), altho nobody who watched the contest would say the cardinals deserved it.
by the way, retrosheet says the cardinals' last passed-on-basepaths snafu came on june 9, 1948: