Games » Minnesota TwinsApr24
The more I learn, the less I know…
If you think you know baseball, spend 3 minutes talking to Frank White about the correct footwork on a double play.
Your little snowball of knowledge will melt like it’s on a Kansas City sidewalk in August. I know mine did. I’ve been lucky to have access to the experience of quite a few major league players, and I’ve absorbed as much as I can. But listening to Frank talk about middle infield play, Danny Jackson on pitching or George Brett on hitting emphasizes there’s only so much you can learn without playing 162 games a year for most of your adult life.
But don’t let that stop you from calling sports talk shows and explaining what Trey and Dayton ought to do next. I know it won’t stop me from talking…possibly from the wrong end of my digestive system.
But I will do my best to stay away from areas I don’t know much about.
And THAT ought to keep these notes pretty brief.
E and Sympathy…
Billy Butler missed a pop fly in the 11th that clearly should have been caught…but I understand why it wasn’t. When I first started playing baseball as an adult, I was putting on a display of Michael Jackson defense (wearing one glove for no apparent reason) at first base when a pop fly foul ball was hit over by a fence. I raced over, only to see the ball land just about where I’d been standing in the first place.
I asked a buddy who’d played pro ball just what the hell was up with pop-ups.
“So you made an error?”
“Dude, I’d have to practice for years to be good enough to make an error on a pop-up. I was nowhere near where that ball came down.”
“Have you ever heard of ‘infield drift’?”
“Well, I know the continents have shifted over the centuries, but I’m guessing you’re talking about something else.”
He explained that all pop flies are curveballs. They’ve been barely clipped underneath and have tremendous spin on them. The spin causes them to head for foul territory and then drift back toward the pitching mound. So if you’re directly underneath a pop fly when it’s at its apex (that’s a word, right?) you’re probably not going to catch it. It will drift away from you and the drift will be toward the pitching mound.
Add wind and rain into the mix and the job doesn’t get any easier.
So, Billy, you should’ve caught it, but I understand why you didn’t.
Callaspo got a throwing error the other night, but Butler also played a part in that one. The throw was wide of the bag, and Billy needed to leave first and get the ball instead of attempting a stretch that came up short. The ball is more important than the bag. Letting it go past first allowed a run to score.
Ankiel’s outstanding play was a diving catch of a line drive that turned into a double play when the runner at second left early, thinking the catch wouldn’t be made.
Kendall’s a professional hitter. He advanced Ankiel to third after a leadoff double by using an inside-out swing (keeping the hands ahead of the bat head and hitting the inside half of the ball). He hit into a 4-3 that doesn’t show in the box score, but it allowed Ankiel to score later in the inning.