Monday, April 27, 2009

Something You Don't See Every Day

Boston Red Sox centerfielder and dreamy female fan-favorite Jacoby Ellsbury stole home against the Boston Red Sox on sunday night, driving a sold out Fenway Park crowd to near-delirium. The play came as such a complete surprise that none of the seven or eight cameras at the ballpark caught any of it, except for Ellsbury's last couple of strides.

It goes without saying that the Yankees should never have let this happen - the third baseman was playing deep in the hole, allowing Ellsbury to take a lead halfway down the third base line, Pettite never looked up, and Posada didn't react until Ellsbury was already on top of home plate. Regardless, the straight steal of home* was so exciting that I demand the return to prominence of all archaic baseball tactics, like the Baltimore chop, the screwball, and the three-inning save.

*A 'straight steal' of home - when a baserunner steals home while the a pitch is in the air - is enormously difficult to pull off, because a runner has to travel 90 feet while the pitch only has to travel 60 feet to beat him to home plate. Compare this to a an 'indirect' or 'double' steal, when a runner on first base runs towards second base, drawing a throw from the catcher, and buying the runner on third base more time to get to home plate, as a ball thrown from second base has to travel approximately 127 feet in order to beat the runner to home plate.

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