Baseball is on TV every day now. Sunday through Saturday you can find broadcasts both on the radio and on television. No matter what day of the week it is you most certainly see at least one play where a player gets a Sunday hop.
A Sunday hop is when an infielder has a ball hit to him, and the ball bounces about chest high right into his glove. The fielder doesn’t have to exert much energy or even move to catch the baseball and throw it across the diamond. Sunday hops usually are long hops that the fielder has time to see where the ball is going after it bounces off of the ground.
Long hops are hops that bounce about 12 to 15 feet away from the fielder before reaching their glove. These are different from short hops that happen within five or six of the fielder, leaving very little reaction time to make a play. A nice long hop, or a Sunday hop, is one that literally finds its way to a player’s glove on its own. As a hitter, you hate to see this happen because it means you are pretty much guaranteed to be out.
As a defender, there is nothing better than a Sunday hop. You don’t have to jump, dive, slide, or even move your feet to catch the ball. The only concern is making the throw to first base look pretty. If you are in the stands or watching the game on television, you can typically tell a Sunday hop by how smooth the fielder looks catching the ball and making a transition to throw.
If he looks like a graceful dance gliding along, you know it was a Sunday hop. If he looks like a punk rock drummer with his hands flailing around, it wasn’t a Sunday hop.
These hops typically result in complaints and trash talk from the team on offense and defenders turning their heads early knowing it is a sure out. The term most likely comes from the fact that Sunday is usually a day of rest, and because the play is so easy it is like the defender gets a play off. Nothing is better than getting Sunday hops every day of the week.