Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exciting plays

I was sitting on the throne, my thoughts idling about baseball, and exciting plays came to mind.

What do you find exciting about the game? A no-hitter? A homerun? A double play? A rhubarb on the field where players argue calls and get tossed? A fan running out onto the field from the stands? The entertainment before or afterwards? Lots and lots of runs scored? How good-looking all the players are? When someone makes an unbelievable catch?

For me, the most exciting play in baseball is the squeeze bunt. This happens when the bases are loaded, the batter drops a well-placed bunt down - usually just inside the line towards third, and the runner from 3rd base arrives at home plate safely while the pitcher (and sometimes the catcher, as well) is scrambling for the ball. It just blows my mind every time I see one of those executed to perfection.

A triple play is also great fun to see. The most common occurrence, I guess, is when - with runners at 1st and 2nd - the ball is hit sharply on the ground towards 3rd. The third baseman snags the ball, steps on third, hot shots the ball over to second, which is then quickly relayed to first. I saw several of those back in the 90's, when our infield consisted of Jeff Bagwell (1st), Craig Biggio (2nd) and Ken Caminiti (3rd).

Ken's fielding was extraordinary in those days. (This was long before he got caught up in some personal stuff that detracted from his performance and eventually led to an early death.) Plus, he could rifle a ball over to first base faster than anyone I can ever remember seeing. There was one year - 1993, it must have been, the year before the infamous strike - when those three guys were the starting infield for the All Star Game. Those were special times for Astros fans.

I have never seen an unassisted triple play, but I'd like to. I've only heard about them. I could see this possibly happening at either 2nd or 3rd, where the baseman makes an incredible snatch of a screamer going right past him, steps on the bag before the runner can get back to it safely and then tags out the advancing runner. That would be exciting!

Home runs, as a rule, I find kind of 'ho hum'. Two exceptions ... grand slams and a home run to win the game. Well, I guess the latter would be tied in my mind with any ball hit well enough to drive home the winning run. Home field advantage? Nothing like it!


The Bug said...

I like all of it! Well, except for the non-game related stuff. Shut up & show the game already won't you? Ha.

Those Killer Bs! How we loved to hate them! But I always thought Biggio was the cutest thing...

You know, it's funny, but I don't like it when the starting pitcher doesn't get the win (if he pitched well - if not, then he doesn't deserve the win). So even though I like when the team wins I'm sad if the pitcher doesn't get credit.

Tammy said...

I'm with Bug...I like all of it, but especially a tight game between the playing teams. I also like to see a grandslam. Oh, and also to see the underdog skunk a really, really, really good team. :)

Goldenrod said...

And Biggio WAS the cutest thing! As a very young Astro, he did his share of cutting up, but those antics are now only a very dim memory. For many many years he has conducted himself - on and off the field - in an exemplary manner, and is a real inspiration and role model for youngsters.

One of the rules that bothers ME the most, Bug, is when a closer - having blown the save - can wind up with a win. That, to me, is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Thank you both, Tammy and Bug, for your comments. This post was a lot of fun for me to write.

Craig Peihopa said...

The throne Goldenrod! Well indeed. You see the difficult thing for me is that I am very visual, and I had this image there of you figuring out all the plays in your head and imagining etc....on the throne no less. Too funny!

Craig Peihopa said...

Goldenrod, how are you there? everything OK?