Monday, January 26, 2009


I was home in Connecticut this past weekend, and while I was digitally pawing through some old files I came across this, which I’d jotted down a long time ago. It’s been a cold, dark winter right from the get-go, and despite the profound joy of spending time with H and sweet B, I feel fat and slow and old. Essentially redundant. This rediscovered paragraph made me nod and laugh. I remember being that boy.
I first felt the thrill of assumed risk as a kid stealing second base. It’s 90 feet from the foul-line side of the first base bag to the middle of the second, so safety is only an 88-foot sprint away. With a decent lead it’s under 80. But of course it’s not just a sprint. First, if your lead’s too long, or the pitcher catches you leaning, you’ll get picked off. And once you do break down the base path, the infielders all shout, “He’s going!” and you know there’s an explosion of activity at the plate, with the catcher receiving the pitch, straightening up, and firing the ball toward second. You can see the shortstop and second baseman moving to cover and you can sometimes get a sense of where that throw is headed by watching them, but you’re out there in the middle of no-man’s land, relying on your initial jump, your speed, and the uncontrollable variables of the pitcher’s delivery, the catcher’s handling of it, and the speed and accuracy of his throw. Delicious.

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