Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Watching runners – Old habits never die

June 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield

My family took my dad and me to a minor league baseball game yesterday for Father’s Day.  It was at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA, to watch the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs play the Durham Bulls.  Watching players warm-up prior to the game,

Always watch runners touch the bases!

play catch, and interact with the fans brought back many memories of my minor league days.  A play during the game also reminded me of one of the first games my dad took me to when I was little.  The play was a sure double in the gap.

 I was about 9 years old and my dad was given tickets to a Phillies game in Veterans Stadium.  We sat up in the upper deck.  I was in heaven.  I vividly remember Phillies center fielder Gary Maddox smoking a line drive in the right field gap.  Easy double and with his speed, probably a triple.  After rounding second base, Maddox put on the breaks and went back to the bag.  The Philly fans booed like crazy because he could have easily made it to third base.  After the boos around us got louder, I joined in and angrily asked my dad “What is he doing?  He could have gone to third!”  My dad leaned over and whispered “He missed second base.”  After a long pause, a bewildered look, and a glance at how far second base was from where we were, I asked “How do you know that?”  He answered, “Because I was watching.”  I was floored.  With an attendance of probably around 30,000 fans, 29,999 were watching the ball roll to the fence.  The other fan, my dad (a former middle infielder), was watching the runner touch the bases.  

From that day forward, I always watched runners tag the bases.  It’s amazing how many times guys miss them.  Unfortunately, it’s also amazing how many times umpires don’t see it along with most everyone else.

Early in yesterdays AAA game, a Durham batter smoked a drive in the gap.  Easy double.  10,100 fans groaned as the ball rolled to the fence.  Two fans watched the runner touch first base on his way to second.  I don’t think I need to tell you who those two were.

Some habits never die.

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