Friday, February 18, 2011

Random Reminiscing of Baseball

For a while, one of my biggest regrets from playing baseball was that I was never able to hit a home run.  I was always a scrawny kid and really only capable my last two or three years or so.  I did hit a ball that went about to the warning track in front of the 408 sign at P&C (now I think Alliance or M&T Bank) Stadium that was caught for an out that would have been a home run anywhere else, but not the genuine article.

But then I came to realize that I'm okay with not putting one out of the park because I did something far more rare.  There are several kids that hit a home run over the course of their baseball "careers."  Several you wouldn't expect as sometimes they see a short fence, or they catch a pitch just right, or the wind aids them.  I did something that probably only a handful of people can boast.  I stole home.

It was late in the summer ball season of 2007.  I don't think it was a playoff game, but I think it was a game that determined the post-season seeding so it was just as important.  We were down 3-1 in the early innings and their top pitcher was just mowing us down.  I got on base and somehow managed to wind my way around to third.  Rather than keep me honest and pitch from the stretch, he opted to go from the windup as there was no base for me to steal...or so he thought.

I love being on third when a guy goes from the windup because al you have to do is watch his feet.  If the off foot moves first, you can take a huge lead and are pretty much guaranteed to score on a groundball to the infield.  Being a daring, and talented baserunner, when a pitcher went from the windup, I could probably have made it home on any hit better than a bunt five feet in front of the plate.

I still have no idea what prompted me to did it.  I didn't even know I was going to do it until I was actually in the process of doing it, but on one of the pitches I just took off.  The pitcher shit himself when he saw that I wasn't stopping and almost threw it by the catcher.  The pitch wound up low and outside and I slid in safely.  Unfortunately the umpire was caught completely offguard, wasn't watching the play and called me out, ending the inning.  Despite getting out of the inning with no runs allowed, the pitcher was so rattled he lasted less than one more inning as our team cruised to a 9-3 victory and the third seed heading into the playoffs.

It bothered me a little bit that the umpire called me out, especially since the play wasn't even close, but it doesn't matter.  Everyone watching the play knew what the outcome was, especially the pitcher who saw an early exit, and more importantly, out or safe, it helped the team win the game.

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