In this column, I’m going to wander around a symbolic softball field discussing various topics which, hopefully, will help to make better thinking players. Over time I’ll be discussing topics such as the fundamentals of hitting and infield play, smart base running, outfield decisions, manager’s strategy, fitness, umpires, and playing rules. Sometimes I’ll throw in a little baseball history, occasionally I’ll toss in some science, hurl in a few video links and you can expect me to lob a bit of humor. I’ll never run out of topics, you guys give me new material every game.
This is not an instructional column for playing the game, though occasionally a video link for your study and implementation will be provided. These posts are think-pieces for players who seek advice for some part of their offensive or defensive game. If these upcoming articles provide you with a tip, spark a thought, or awaken some aspect of your game, then they have done the job.
As we wander, we’ll meet Oz. He’s a ball player between 55 and 95, with moderate skills, who loves to play the game. Oz is no one but he’s everyone, he’s a teammate, he’s me and he’s you. Oz does well in the field and at bat but knows he can always use improvement. You’ll also meet his teammate, Insane McNutley, whose mother—long ago—correctly labeled him. Insane is a secondary character who helps Oz make his point.
Here is a short sampling of how this will work. A playing rule with a situation is discussed:
Oz is playing SS with Insane at bat. Insane drives a sharp ground ball just out of the reach of Oz. Instinctively, Oz throws his glove at the ball and stops it. He picks up the ball and fires it to 1B before Insane reaches the orange bag.
What’s the call: Safe or out?
Neither, Oz just gave Insane a triple.
Paraphrasing SSUSA PLAYING RULES 49 C, When a fielder intentionally contacts a fair batted or thrown ball with his detached glove, the runner would be entitled to three bases from the time of the pitch if a batted ball.
That’s it for now. Comments or suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 11, 2024