Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Second Base: The Easiest Position in Softball

Second base is simple.  There are no throws to dig out across the diamond.  Most balls are hit to third or short and the rest hit the outfield.  On a double play comebacker to the pitcher, the shortstop takes the bag and then "twists it" to first.  Most infield pops can easily be handled by the pitcher or shortstop.  The catcher gets all the smack-downs and the outfielders have to use their speed and abuse their bodies by running into the fence and making all-out dives.

Yes, the life of a second baseman is easy.  All he needs to do is take the shovel pass from short and flip it to first.  Most outs are a simple grab of a soft toss.  Every once in a while, second base has to go play the simple cut-off guy in the outfield grass and then just throws it where the infield commander yells for him to throw the ball.

So, if it's that easy, why am I so bad at it?

Last night, my softball team went up against our fierce rivals.  Our team has been together for three years and during that time, we have grown into a cohesive team unit.  Each of us knows the job we have to do and just about all of us do it well. All of us, that is, except me.

Sure, I can hit.  I can run.  And I can even do a take-out slide at second base.  I know how to run down the second base line and pretend to forget to peel off during a double play so the second baseman has to wait on the throw to first.  I did that successfully twice last night.  I know how to take a ball or two and then wait for my meatball pitch.  I definitely know how to cheer on my teammates and slap them hard on the back and the top of their heads.  I am good at trying to fire the bench up.

But, my defense.....

Last night, out of nine innings, I had eight good ones, defensively.  The unspeakable inning commenced as follows:

Lead-off hitter. A hot grounder was headed my way.  I set myself, dropped my glove to the flat flight of the ball and watched it fly right between my legs.  He ended up on second with a two-base error.

Oh!  You think that's funny!  How about this one, then.  Another hot shot to my right.  I heard short stop yell my name and I went for it hard.  I got the ball in my glove and the ball and glove kept going.  The glove stayed on my hand while the ball, considerably slower now, rolled around the shallow outfield, teasing the charging center-right fielder.  Two runs scored.

And if that wasn't bad enough,  an opponent hit a sharp single in the air out to center right field.  I went out as fast as my long lopey legs could carry me.  As the cut-off, our center-right fielder threw a perfect bean, right into my old crappy glove.  As I caught the ball, I heard these words...

THREE!  HOME..HOME!  THREEEEEEEE!  THREEEEEE!!!  NO HOOOME!!!!  THREEEEEE!  So, naturally, I twisted around, didn't plant myself, and threw the ball right between those two bases, splitting the difference.  After all, I did what I was told to do, right?  The bases were cleared with the hitter ending up at third.  Three more runs.

Pathetic. I worked for thirty one years to build up my whipsaw of an arm (by drinking Mountain Dew and eating Snickers and Pearson Salted Nut Rolls) to be able to throw twenty feet at a good clip and I blew the play that might have saved the season for us.  DOH!

Well.  Let's look at the bright side - I didn't get an oblique strain and my bilateral leg weakness is getting better (inside joke for the remaining Minnesota Twins fans.).

I can't wait until next game to redeem myself.

Until then, I'll just click these red shoes together and say, "Second base is simple...Second base is simple...Second base is simple....Secon..."


  1. Twins Fans ? I thought that species was extinct ?

  2. Funny and true story.

    Church softball league (You find out what everyone thinks about God in an intense situation...)

    I was never good. Always Right field or catcher, 2nd to last or last to hit. My dad did college baseball for a year as 1st baseman so I had big shoes to fill. I always went straight to the field from work, with my steel toed work boots. Got the nickname of Boots from this. But I never really had to run. LOL!

    So I am playing right field with a lefty hitting. I already showed I was a weak right fielder so this guy LOBS it right over my dad's 6' 2" frame 3ft off the ground, right to ME! I stick my hand up and run backwards. I feel a hit in the glove and looked down to find the ball. All I hear is "JON! THROW TO 3RD! THROW TO 3RD!" I look up and there, in my still out stretched hand, snow-coned. Just one of my finer moments.

    I still laugh to this day.

  3. Did you sell the catch well?

    I can't imagine the steel toed boots. THAT would have been a sight to see!

  4. hahaha, I read the title and went, "Heyyyyyy.... That's my base!"
    haha, but I gotta admit, second base is pretty straight forward. You don't have to be particularly fast, particularly good a digging, and you usually don't end up in the middle of the cool plays.
    And that seems totally logical to me, split the difference and throw between the two.. haha. I would have been the one yelling. "HOME!!! HOME!!! Don't make him throw to three, there's a better chance of him actually beating the runner at HOME!! HOME!!"

    I was also a pitcher, and could play pretty much any postition, except for 3rd (or catch). During highschool, another team was short players for a tourney, and I went to sub. I told the coach I could play anywhere. I saw that their 3rd baseman was there, but the next thing I knew he had switched everyone around and stuck me at 3rd. All I could think was, "WHY??" Terrible game. Everything was hit to me. Or so it felt. Hard hits straight down the line. All I was interested in was saving my face from being bashed in. haha. And one time that I did snag the ball, I was so out of my element that I threw to the wrong place. Switching between second and short isn't that big of a deal- the perspective just switches. Playing first is simple enough; catch the ball. Outfield; get the ball to the infield. But third? I don't know, it just feels so incredibly foreign.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh. =)

  5. Glad you smiled. Really appreciate your latest posts.

  6. LOL!! Haha Joe,
    You have a great way of describing the scene of battle. funny thing is, I heard everybody yelling a different base too...last year I made the same mistake in the outfield against Sand Creek, throwing it in-between second and third on a popup. Oh well, pretty much over by then at that point anyway :)
    You are having a crazy good year, keep it up.
    We will get Sand Creek in a couple...