ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms

May 2007

Musings30 May 2007

Last night I watched Bluejays second baseman Aaron hill pull off a straight steal of home plate. For those of you not baseball junkies like myself, a straight steal of home is when the runner on third base breaks for home plate and tries to get there before the pitcher can throw the ball to the catcher, who can tag him out. Keep in mind that the pitcher is naturally inclined to throw the ball to home plate as it is. It’s the ultimate gutsy play, and it depends heavily on the element of surprise. Here’s what happened:

Game tied at 1 run each, there are 2 outs in the 7th inning, Aaron hill is on third base. Yankee’s pitcher Andy Pettitte on the mound. This is significant because Pettitte is a left-handed pitcher, meaning that when he stands on the mound he tends to turn his back to third base.

There is also runner on first base. His presence adds just one more thing for the pitcher and catcher to worry about, and the pitcher naturally looks over at the runner on first as he prepares to throw a pitch.

The Jay’s batter was the right-handed Royce Clayton. A right-handed batter stands on the 3rd base side of the plate, partially blocking the catcher’s view of Hill at 3rd.

Clayton had called time-out, and all the while, Pettitte remained standing on the mound. As Clayton stepped back into the batters box, Hill took a slightly bigger than usual lead from 3rd base. As soon as Pettitte began to bring his glove up to his mouth, meaning that he was getting “set” to throw a pitch, Hill took off running for home like an Olympic sprinter.

He was somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 way down the line before the catcher noticed, and immediately jumped out of his crouch and waved his arms frantically at the pitcher, trying to get his attention. Pettitte froze for a moment and then made a quick throw to the plate, but by then it was too late. Hill slid into home just ahead of the tag. Amazing.

The whole thing lasted maybe 4 seconds. Hill took everyone by surprise, including the TV commentators, who didn’t even realize he was going for home until he popped into the right side of the frame as he slid towards the plate.

The Jays went on to beat the Yankees 3-2.

Straight steals of home are both very exciting and very rare. The last time a Jays player pulled one off was six years ago. Aside from a few famous players who pulled it off with some regularity (Pete Rose, Jackie Robinson), very few players try it, and they are even more rare in the American league. I’ve never seen one in a game before, and when Hill crossed the plate I leapt out of my chair and waved my fists in the air.

As I’m in Nova Scotia and using dial up, I’ve not actually been able to watch this, but it appears to be the right video:

Links17 May 2007


Musings09 May 2007

I find I sometimes wake up in the morning a couple of hours before my alarm and then fall asleep again. It’s during that second period of slumber that I often have some of my more vivid (or at least, remembered) dreams.

I had a great one this morning, boy oh boy.

I dreamt I was William Shatner. I dreamt I was married to Yoko Ono, who seemed to think her husband was a bit of a frivolous person. I dreamt I was sleeping in a tent outside our house, and she was not.

I drempt that I was attacked by a bear.

Apparently, I (and by “I” I mean a middle-aged version of myself who once played Captain Kirk) was expecting such an attack, because I had rigged up a network of strings and tin-cans around the tent as a kind of alarm system. I had also taken my electric guitar out to the tent and plugged it in to an amp, planning to use it as a noise-maker to frighten off the marauding predator.

Unfortunately, my cunning plan came to naught, because the bear’s attack collapsed the tent and separated me from my guitar. I wrestled with the beast for a while, and eventually persuaded it to leave me alone by giving it some cigarettes.

The whole time I was quite calm, as if I knew I’d eventually get the bear to move along, thanks to my bribe of tobacco.

After this experience, the dream repeated itself several times. Each time, I was just as calm (detached, even), and each time I fought the bear off. The bear himself continued to shrink during each iteration, and by the end was the size of a house-cat.

At one point, he did manage to eat Yoko Ono.