Marvell Wynne might as well have been standing on second base naked. Maybe then he wouldn't have drawn as much attention, that some fans would at least have hidden their eyes in embarrassment.
But he was standing there in full view, in a Padre uniform, having formerly represented the tying run in the bottom of the ninth of the first game of Friday's doubleheader with Atlanta.
Now he was just the second out, another victim of the old hidden ball trick.
The Padres lost, 6-5, and the thing that was both maddening and embarrassing for them was that after Bip Roberts' perfect sacrifice in the ninth, Roberto Alomar never got a chance to drive in the tying run.
What happened was this: Roberts was thrown out at first by first baseman Darrell Evans, and second baseman Jeff Treadway, who took the throw, never returned the ball to reliever Joe Boever.
Oh, he walked toward Boever, all right, then flicked his arm and said, "Come on, let's go." Then he took his normal position.
Boever knew immediately what was going on. So did shortstop Andres Thomas, who went to talk with Boever when Wynne didn't lead off right away.
Second base umpire Bob Engel knew, too.
"In fact, Treadway had the ball clear outside of his glove as he was walking back," Engel said. "He had it in his bare hand and cupped his glove over it. I'm surprised nobody saw it."
When Wynne wandered off the bag, Treadway sprinted over and made the tag. Wynne never knew what hit him.
He was unavailable for comment between games.
Said Padre Manager Jack McKeon: "There was no purpose to him getting off base. Where are you going to go?"
It was the first time Atlanta attempted it this year, and Treadway didn't think of it until he took Evans' throw at first.
"That's when I decided to try it," Treadway said. "We need to do whatever it takes to win ball games. When I got the ball, the third base coach (Sandy Alomar) was giving him signs and telling him to pick up the outfielders. It was a good play. I thought there was a possibility it would work.
"I hope there's not any kind of animosity for it. We're just trying to win games."
"Hell no," said McKeon, who still wasn't sure after the game ended what had happened.
The biggest thing the Braves had to worry about was Boever's whereabouts. For the play be successful, rules say the pitcher can't be on or astride the rubber.
"He can't be in a pitching-type position," Engel said.
So Boever paced around the grass behind the mound, faced home plate, bent over, took a step onto the dirt and bent over again. Then Thomas came over for a chat. Finally, Wynne took his lead.
"It took the longest time for Wynne to move off the bag," Engel said. "Thomas even caught that and ran to the mound to create a diversion. Finally, Wynne stepped off, and Treadway ran over and tagged him. When he made the tag, I turned to the pitcher to make sure he hadn't been on the rubber. Then I knew it was a legal out."
Wynne stood on second base for the longest time, as if he could will himself to get out of the situation.
"He was kind of dumbfounded," Boever said. "I think he was standing out there like, did that really happen? There's nothing you can do but stand out there."
Padre second baseman Roberto Alomar said he had never seen that play executed.
"It was a shock," Alomar said. "It's like, 'What the hell is going on?' But it happened. And that was the game."
Treadway also played second in the second game. Animosity? Each time he batted, he was booed.