Is it a cliche that every time you watch a baseball game you will see something that you’ve never seen before? I am putting this old rhubarb to the test, in any event, as I have already watched more baseball more closely this year than any I can remember (playoff games excluded).
This is because I started a personal project called Every Day Ichiro, chronicling my year in being a new Mariner’s fan. A tad specific for Pitchers and Poets, it involves watching a lot of Ms games, with specific focus on Ichiro’s at bats and overall presence.
More importantly for PnP concerns, I see things. It turns out that when you watch just about every inning of a baseball game, strange things will happen. Rare things, things that will legitimately surprise you. I thought I’d run through a few of those, as well as some other notable moments from the young season:
- During yesterday’s Mariners-A’s game, Adam Moore scooped up a bunt with his mask. It was a most unremarkable gesture. He didn’t catch a ball over the fence with his mask, or throw the mask up in the air to deflect an errant ball the way every Little Leaguer has done, only to have his catch buddy tell him that’s illegal. He simply bumped an already stopped ball towards himself. Despite the insignificance of the mask-tip, the umpires after a quick meeting granted the baserunners a base apiece. Chad Pennington, who reached base on the bunt, ended the play with the rare infield double.
- Matt Tuiasosopo battled through a 13-pitch at bat in the same A’s game. During that at bat, he popped two balls into Oakland’s acreage of foul territory. Two different players muffed a foul ball apiece, each taking one off of the heel of the glove and granting Tui TWO free lives at the plate. He struck out swinging.
- Milton Bradley tipped his hat in a show of gentlemanly good cheer when Rajai Davis stole a home run from him.
- Moving away from the Mariners: Jason Heyward. I mean. Are there any superlatives left? I had the good fortune of catching Heyward’s Homer live on TV on Opening Day, and felt that perhaps unjustified sense of the beginning of Something. It was chilling; I jumped up and did a lap around the living room, swelling with the urge to talk to somebody. I called my friend Seth in Atlanta, who had luckily taken a day off from work. I think I woke him up from a midday nap.
- In a game between the Dodgers and the Pirates, outfielder Reed Johnson came barreling home and executed a near-perfect hook slide as catcher Ryan Doumit caught the incoming ball and tried to apply the tag. Johnson looked safe. As he got up in a cloud of dust, though, he and Doumit both were looking to the umpire, who had yet to make a call. The ump was just standing there, without doing a thing. The Nation looked to him for guidance, and all he offered was your basic man-waiting-for-a-train stance. Suddenly, Doumit got it, and jumped at Johnson to tag him out. Johnson had never touched the plate, so the play was still live, and there had been no call for the umpire to make.
- Mark Buehrle Superstar.