April 9, 2006

THE LAST 90 FEET (via Gene Brown):

The Thieves Turn Timid (LEE JENKINS, 4/02/06, NY Times)

Milton Bradley was about to steal home.

He took his lead, walking slowly and casually, adding a few paces to give himself a head start. He stood upright and tried to be inconspicuous. Then he set his feet shoulder-width apart, dropped into a crouch and dug the soles of his shoes hard into the ground. He was inconspicuous no longer.

He inched onto the balls of his feet and started to bounce, as if revving an internal engine. With every bounce, his eyes seemed to grow wider. Finally, when the timing was just right, he bowed his head, turned his body and churned his legs toward ...

A laundry basket?

Bradley was performing baseball's most dramatic exercise — not on a field, but inside the Oakland Athletics' spring training clubhouse. He was stealing home in slow motion, a major leaguer acting out his Little League fantasy with virtually no one around.

"I've always wanted to do it out there," said Bradley, an outfielder for the A's, motioning beyond the clubhouse walls to the field where his team played an exhibition game in mid-March. "But if you don't make it, you're the biggest idiot in the stadium."

For all the reasons baseball players rarely steal home anymore — pitchers working more often out of the stretch, hitters more capable of driving in runs, managers aiming for big innings — the fear of looking like an idiot ranks near the top of the list.


And is certainly the least good reason.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2006 7:04 PM
Comments

Does the article mention his recent demonstration of baserunning skills on Friday night? He missed third rounding for home so had to go back and retag, only to be forced into a rundown because third had since been occupied, making him the final out for the inning. Too bad the Mariners weren't in a scoring mood, either. (The scorer's generosity cost the A's a no hitter yesterday, too. And there were only three other baserunners. Today the Mariner's were perfect through the fourth. See what I mean about an ability to disappoint?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 9, 2006 8:48 PM

Raoul:

My pitching staff is Washburn, Meche, Pineiro, Soriano & pray for Armageddon....

Posted by: oj at April 9, 2006 8:53 PM
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