Little Things

Mookie Betts, at the moment, is playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox. (Monte Dutton)
Mookie Betts, at the moment, is playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox. (Monte Dutton)

In the baseball season to date, my favorite moment occurred when the Red Sox’ Mookie Betts legged out an infield hit and took off for second base, like a kid in tee-ball who just runs and runs and runs until he’s either out or scores. Betts took off for second because he saw that no one was covering it. A few nights back, Dustin Pedroia stole second and took third the same way. All these shifts are creating opportunities.

My second favorite moment occurred when Cincinnati pitcher Jonathan Broxton uncorked a fastball directly at Yoenis Cespedes’ head. Cespedes twisted out of the way and hammered a 430-foot home run to center on the next pitch.

Tim Lincecum. I love watching him pitch. (Monte Dutton)
Tim Lincecum. I love watching him pitch. (Monte Dutton)

The third favorite was an event, not a moment. Tim Lincecum pitched no-hitter against the Padres, against whom he also tossed a gem the previous season. Watching on TV, I started sketching Lincecum, but I hadn’t a clue it would wind up being a no-no. I thought the sketch needed more color, so I drew the Giants’ righthander with an orange top, even though his jersey was really white. What a mistake.

The rest of my top ten are all Jackie Bradley Jr. catches. The bottom ten are Jackie Bradley Jr. plate appearances. I dream at night of a .250 batting average.

Owing to the collapse of the Red Sox, a year after winning the World Series, there haven’t been many moments or events that seemed magical to me, but every season has its pleasures. Wait till next year. The Bostons are playing well now that it doesn’t mean much. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves seem to be fading from contention.

I’m sort of excited about the Kansas City Royals’ resurgence because I knew their manager, Ned Yost, in the minors, and I like their ballpark. If only the Royals would stop wearing those baby-blue jerseys …

When one’s team is in contention, baseball is a big thing. When the summer isn’t kind, the little things mean a lot.

For instance, Vin Scully means a lot, not to mention Don (Orsillo) and Jerry (Remy), and Kruk(ow) and Kuip(er).

Umpire reviews? Oh, okay, but it isn’t much fun watching the manager killing time with the ump (“You know what I really like? Those pretzel buns at Wendy’s. You ever tried ‘em, Fieldin?”) and waiting for his bench coach to give him the thumb’s up or down.

Just what, today, would Earl Weaver, Billy Martin, and Tommy Lasorda do?


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