For a change of pace this week, I asked Guy a question that I too will answer…
What is the most exciting play in baseball?
The most exciting play in baseball would definitely be a one-man triple play. I don’t know if it ever happened, but I just trying to imagine how a single man could score three outs at the same time is pretty exciting. Dives for a liner that hasn’t touched the ground, tags the guy at his base and throws at first base for another out? Yeah, it probably happened, but I want to see one. Otherwise, a single-man double play is also pretty good. Remember last week, when I said I would be playing in a softball tournament? I did just that and executed a double-play on my own. It was definitely the highlight of my tournament. Can’t say I had any highlight on the offensive, as my best was a double, which I had to run for because I normally would have had to stop at first base. Good thing I run pretty fast.
Which brings me to my second candidate as the game’s is the inside the park home run. One of my adversaries pulled it off this week-end, and it was pretty amazing to see. Just the excitement of trying to see if he would stretch his hit for one more base each time he rounded one was exhilarating. Despite our best efforts, we never managed to get him before he crossed the plate. I admire that guy, but I really hate him at the same time. I want to see one of these in the MLB before the season is over.
Chasing 85: My Year With the Kansas City Royals
For me, the most exciting play in baseball is one of the simplest: the stolen base. I came of age watching Ricky Henderson stealing bases and always wondered why it does not happen more. The pitcher-batter duel has been described as a gunfight in the past, but a good base stealer changes the dynamic to that of a Mexican Standoff. If the pitcher focuses too much on the base runner, the batter might get a gift pitch or get walked or, even worse, a passed ball or wild pitch might advance the runner. If he gives up on the base runner to focus on the batter, the double play goes away and any groundball could advance or even score the runner. The batter, who is doing the hardest thing in all of professional sports already, must now think about hitting behind or in front of the runner, he must select his pitches more carefully, to prevent double plays, and he has to consider the various ways he can sacrifice himself. The base runner must focus on the movements of the pitcher, the catcher, the second baseman, and the batter, all while trying to get a big enough lead to break but not so far as to get thrown out at first. This is the three way dance of base stealing, and my favorite element of the game of baseball.
My second favorite would have to be the bunt. When a player lays a quality bunt down and all of the infielders must react in unison, there is magic in the chaos. I could watch a bunt play over and over and still miss some of the small things that the players have to do to prevent disaster.
I was never a big baseball card collector. I picked them up, once and a while, as a child, but never collected them the way I collected comic books. When I was in high school and college, I played Magic: the Gathering pretty intensely and spent too much of my spare time hanging around sports card and collectable stores, even working at one for a short time. Even when surrounded by case after case of sports cards and signed items, which I could purchase at cost, I never bit.
I completely understand the phenomenon of collecting signed and game used pieces of memorabilia, particularly from players and teams that you follow passionately. I have simply never had the desire to do so myself. Until now, of course. Do not misunderstand me, I am not turning into an autograph hound, stalking late at night, waiting for red eyed pro baseball players to arrive at Kansas City International. No, I have just one piece of memorabilia I desire.
I want a pair of Mark Teahen’s pants.
There, I said it. I want to own a pair of Mark Teahen’s game worn pants, signed on the zipper. I have seen countless jerseys, hats, bats, balls, and ephemera, but never a pair of game worn pants. If I ever gain ownership of said pants, I will give them a very good home. I intend to frame them, put a plaque reading “Mark Teahen’s Pants” underneath them, and a place a small light to illuminate the pants on the ceiling, museum style. This is the only sports collectable I have ever wanted. So, here is my call: Mark Teahen, can I have your pants?