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Baseball.(5 posts)

Baseball.dr hoo
Oct 12, 2003 5:35 AM
I got glasses when I was 9. Using the logic of nine year olds, I decided that I would thereafter play baseball instead of football so my glasses would not get broken. I started the painful watching of Cubs baseball on Sundays on the local channel. I've held a deep love it it since.

If I could get 17 others together, I'd play right now.

I've lost the last game of the season in the 9th because I sucked out in right field. I've won the last game of the season with a walk off hit in the bottom of the 9th. I've been up last, hit the ball as hard as I could, and had the pitcher catch it to save his life... ending our season. I've felt it all when the season was on the line.

So I feel playoff baseball in my bones.

But what I love more than all that drama is the day to day inside small things that make baseball happen. Shifting players around, back ups and cut offs, and how pitches are called. Maybe that is because I ended up catching, where I did not suck. I called a good game. I got inside hitters heads. I even once made an unassisted double play behind the plate. I share this with Johnny Bench, which makes me happy in a totally stupid 12 year old way.

I loved the HR Pudge Rodriguez hit against SF, where he played the away pitches, then looked for and got the inside pitch. Never try to outthink the catcher at the plate.

Baseball is a game about the long term, but with every small thing mattering in the here and now. It's a game about what individuals do, but the things that matter most are what the TEAM does. Life is like that too. Individual and group, each relying on the other, each elevating the other.

And, as a group, Boston fans should be ashamed. Cubs fans made the Marlins field seem like a home game.

I know which curse deserves to be lifted.
Yeah doc, baseball's the only worthwhile non-cycling discussionCrankist
Oct 12, 2003 8:55 AM
Boston is playing that surly 2nd-best team brand of ball that they're known for. They're just petrified of crapping away yet another opportunity in front of millions of their loss-weary fans, many surly as well fearing/sensing the outcome. Yet I don't agree that the BRS fans should be ashamed. They're rabid and hungry and surly for a win; good fans (short for fanatics) are supposed to be nuts. If you had simply lent your pair of glasses to Pedro last night, then you might have seen better behavior.
catcher rantHot Carl
Oct 12, 2003 10:29 AM
I think Johnny Bench should hold a catcher's clinic and teach some fundamentals. I see these catchers bouncing all around like little monkeys on crack. They're hopping around during the windup and flopping and dropping their gloves as if their catching hand has epilepsy. They're more concerned with the hitter and disguising pitch location.

What happend to presenting a target? Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Thurmon Munson and Gary Carter were rock steady behind the plate. Their glove was held up and wide open. They made the pitcher's job easier.

Now, I only follow baseball when the Yankees are in the playoffs. When I was 11 I used to listen to Yankee games on the radio. I'd actually kept score. REAL baseball coded score with the little diamonds.
My Saturday's revolved around watching The Baseball Bunch and This Week in Baseball with Mel Allen before heading outside. With no neighbors or brothers, I'd play home run derby with a Wiffle ball bat and the black walnuts that fell from trees in our yard. When I got bored with that, I'd try to perfect my bat twirl, the same one used by Mickey Rivers after he swung and missed at a pitch.

Dad never let me play little league, so my first attempt at organized play came just before high school. My idea of a fundamental set up was Rod Carew's laid-back stance with the bat drooping towards the ground. I thought I had a better chance if I looked like I knew what I was doing. I sucked at hitting but my speed and strong outfield arm earned me a starting spot on the varsity team. Our uniforms were white with black pinstripes. Perfect.

I also had a connection with the Chicago Cubs. Our town was home to the Cubs NYPenn league A team. Geneva was a perfect baseball small city made up of Italian/Irish/Hispanics. You'd have a crew of kids who would just hang out in the parking lot fighting over foul balls.
If a batter cracked a bat, kids would follow the batboy to the concession stand where he would take the bat to be sold for $10. A minor crack would be glued, nailed, or taped. It never occurred to us that the damn club was far to heavy for us to really swing.
Ah, we were luckymickey-mac
Oct 12, 2003 8:12 PM
Growing up as a Dodgers fan, we had Joe Ferguson, Steve Yeager, and Mike Scioscia. We've had some good hitting catchers since then, but nobody who can play defense like those boys, with the possible exception of Charles Johnson's short stint with the Dodgers. He made up for his defensive skills with a batting average of about .212 with the Dodgers.
Watch pudge. He's good and steady.dr hoo
Oct 13, 2003 5:11 AM
He also changes the way other teams run, what with his willingness to throw to any base at any time from any position.

But much as I agree with you, I think the case can be made for the hopping around catchers. With all the coaching and sign stealing today, catchers hop around more and flash the target (instead of holding it steady) to keep hitters from picking up location on pitches. Late shifts are part of it. All that matters is that the pitcher sees a steady target when they look for it, and they are trained more and more to look for it only briefly. Flash the target.

With men on base, it gets more important to do. Too early a set up with a man on second and the runner could signal inside/outside to the batter.