Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cardinal Rule of Baseball

I have watched or listened to every Red Sox game this season with minimal channel flipping. That is one hundred and thirty-three games, but who (besides me) is counting?

The sports wonks, including my in-house Soxpert have pretty much given up on Boston. If they are right, and the Sox have really dug a playoff-less grave for 2010, my Sox-ucation will only last 31 more games.

Knowing that my games are numbered and at some point I am going to be left watching the Sox alone (fair-weathered, bluehatted fans), I am holding on to every last gem of knowledge my hubby spews these days. Including the "cardinal rule" of baseball. "never make the last out on third."

Perhaps I should use my last 31 games to stop you bluehats from institutionally preventing pinkhats from learning the game. When Dave yelled "Dude, that's like the cardinal rule of baseball - you never make the last out on third, " I went "huh?"

Somehow thinking that his ear-numbing tirade at the television had been less than audible, he repeated himself. And then, met with my bland stare, repeated himself again.

Nope, I (and all the neighbors) heard you fine. But how could you possibly expect me to understand that?

In the beginning of the season, "making an out" meant stepping on the plate, tagging the player, or hitting him with the ball. (See how far I have come?) Apparently bluehats understand the sentiment "never make the last out on third," despite its tricky wording. It means that the offense - not the defense as the wording suggests - should not have risked the out if he wasn't forced to third. The only sure way the runner will get home from third is on a hit... but chances are the runner could make it from second on the same hit. 

So if there are two outs, the runner should never steal third. However, if there is only one out, stealing third could be a good gamble. You MIGHT get home on a fly ball. But at least if you don't make it home you haven't ended the inning.

Simple enough concept, but did I really have to waste one of my dwindling learning opportunities deciphering it. 

Ugh, I never thought that after 133 games I would still need someone to point out a cardinal rule of baseball. And then require a translator to decipher it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Blogger

I requested that my husband "guest blog" for me tonight. Although I would much rather be writing about baseball (wow, never thought I would say that), I am writing up a grant proposal for work while I watch the Sox.

The guest blogging started as a joke. Now I'm thinking why not? He is a Sox baseball expert, and he is as opinionated as most bloggers (and guest bloggers). 

You want to know why not? Because he is saying no. He is saying that although he is a hilarious person in general, he can't write funny.

I don't really care if this post is funny, just that it is done. This weekend my mother-in-law was wondering about the difference between pitching out of the windup and pitching out of the stretch.  My mother-in-law just happens to be my husband's mother, so it is only fair that Dave answer this one for her me. 

So I asked him the question... and copied what he said word-for-word. Here is his unintentional guest blog post: 

"It's actually a very simple question so you should be able to blog very easily." Heehee, hubby, if only you knew.

"It's gone, it's so very gone!" Nope, that has nothing to do with pitching out of the windup. Or out of the stretch. It is Dave's method for celebrating Bill Hall's solo homerun over the Volvo sign while simultaneously annoying me because he knows how much I hate that Southwest Commercial.

"Here look, I'll show you. You told me last week that you are a visual learner." Shut up, stop trying to be a good husband that listens, and just tell me the answer to the question so I can get back to my work.

"Look at John Lackey. He is pitching to the Angels Reggie Willets. There isn't a huge difference in his pitches, but he doesn't have his full leg motion now that Bobby Abreu is on base."

"The windup is the regular pitching motion. Pitchers want to throw out of the windup because they have better accuracy and better speed."

"The pitcher pitches out of the stretch when there is somebody on base. The pitcher wants to get the ball to the catcher as fast as possible to hold the runner. If there is a runner on first, as long as he has just a little speed, the pitcher has to worry that he might try to steal so he doesn't want to waste time with the windup. If there is a runner on third... hey, stop writing what I am saying verbatim... most pitchers will pitch out of the windup anyway because runners on third don't usually steal base."

And there you have it folks (and mom) - the difference between pitching out of the windup and pitching out of the stretch. Brought to you by guest blogger Dave.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Headlines today had the Sox "losing momentum".

Having posted only a couple times in the last couple weeks, I can certainly understand that. But is that really what is ocurring?

Losing momentum to me is something that happens gradually but consistently... you skip posting after a few games, then you go two games without posting, then three. That just doesn't compare to what is happening with the Sox.

The Sox look strong at some point in most games.  Like they could really win it, and then go out tomorrow and win that game. Then the next one too. But then something falls apart... think Friday and Saturday nights' games when it looked like they had clinched it early on.

Maybe it's the pitching. Papelbon has replaced Voldemorrt as "he who shall not be named" in our household. Analysts ponder why Bard isn't closing and unanimously conclude that Pap would have a fit if he was asked to pitch relief. Um, why not "let him have a fit?"

And speaking of "sucking it up," what about Jacoby Ellsbury and the rest of the Sox? Yesterday Marco Scutaro was the only Sox player filling his position on the season-opening roster (Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre were playing, but at first and third respectively). Dustin Pedroia has completed rehab of his broken foot and should return tomorrow.

Maybe his pep can speed up the momentum. Now I just have to figure out how to pick up mine.

Friday, August 6, 2010


A few days ago Jerry Remy announced that Darnell McDonald made a shoestring catch. It suddenly struck me that, although I have researched and described the different types of pitching, I have failed to explore the different types of catching. Just what makes a catch a shoestring?

In the meantime the baby has learned to crawl, pull up, walk holding on with one hand, and basically destroy anything in her path.* She has also decided she will not go to sleep any time before 9pm. Which makes sitting down and blogging during the game, well, impossible.

Caught in the Act. In a true Catch-22, the baby pulls all my baseball reference material off the bookshelf. These are the very items I can't use because I'm busy making sure she doesn't pull them off the shelf (unsuccessfully).

So a shoestring catch is a running catch made close to the ground (or your shoestrings). Easy, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised to learn that there are a bunch of rules associated with making a catch.

For example, it doesn't matter if you make the most perfect, most beautiful, most up-against-the-wall, should-have-been-a-home run catch; if you then drop the ball it's not a catch. However, if a player grabs the ball in the air before it reaches the ground, demonstrates possession, and then drops the ball. Catch.

If you make a catch with your hat, your shirt, or your cup, you might make Sports Center, but you haven't made a catch. Even if the ball becomes lodged in the catchers face mask, it's not a catch.

It is a catch if a fielder reaches the edge of the dugout and is then held up by a teammate or opponent in order to reach the ball. A player can also reach over, or even jump on or over a wall in order to make a catch. 

What other crazy catch-rules do you know about? Wikipedia has a rule about the ball being hit by a fielder, then by an offensive player, then caught by a defensive player... you guessed it, it's not a catch.

*People laughed when I started baby-proofing with the baby still in the womb. I should have ignored them, because it it is virtually impossible to baby-proof now that she can put things in her mouth. She wants to eat outlet covers, drawer stops, and the rugs I use to conceal wires.