Tuesday, May 6, 2008

God, I Love Baseball

From Jason D. Scott:
Watching the Dodgers-Mets, fifth inning. Blake DeWitt homers to straightaway center, his first major league home run. The camera picks him up in the dugout getting hugged and high-fived by his teammates. Vin Scully talks gently and beautifully about it being such a wonderful moment in a young man's life, how popular DeWitt is, how maybe the Dodgers don't need Andy LaRoche or Tony Abreu....nice, standard stuff.

Then, a pitch into the next at-bat, Scully asks me to watch the replay of DeWitt after the homer. "They're gonna give him the cold shoulder, at first," he explains, because DeWitt is a rookie, and sure enough, as DeWitt enters the dugout, he gets the tiniest of taps on the rear by Joe Torre who doesn't even bother making eye contact. Everyone else on the bench is silent, stoic, as DeWitt goes to the rack and takes off his helmet. You can't "hear" the silent treatment, but you can see it, and you can see DeWitt (even with his back to the camera) itching with excitement but trying to play it cool like everyone else. Scully narrates the replay, and at the exact moment ("And then...."), the players and coaches near DeWitt simultaneously start cheering and embracing him as if he had just walked into a surprise party.

A beautiful, beautiful piece of video, story by DeWitt and the Dodgers, voice by Scully, and called precisely and smoothly by whomever is directing the show for Fox Sports.
Thanks, Jason. I love the whole "cold shoulder" bit for rookie home runs too. The Braves do it really well. There are so many graybeards on that team, though, that I always worry that the rookie really does think that he's being ignored.

UPDATE: Welcome Rob Neyer readers! For those of you who are unaware, this feature is about the fun things that happen during baseball games that don't necessarily make the highlight packages the next day. The little stuff. A foul ball that wakes up everyone in the visitor's dugout. A fan shouting an obscenity so loud the TV microphones pick it up. An ump taking a few extra seconds cleaning the plate because the catcher just caught a nasty foul tip. The sorts of things that never make the highlight packages or box scores, but which cause both the viewers and the participants to laugh, sigh, or simply reflect in ways that are totally foreign to, say, a football field. Some examples can be found here.

The way it works is that you watch a game, be it on TV or in person, and email me with a description of any of those little things that catch your notice (my email can be found in the upper left-hand corner of this page). When I get a handful of them, I run 'em. It's that simple.


dubbschism said...

Reminds me of Kevin Youkilis' first career HR...the sox gave him the silent treatment, so as he walked into the dugout, he started passing out fake high-fives to invisible teammates. hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Cool thing is that this has even made into baseball video games now

Chipmaker said...

I love it when the vets pull this sort of benign shit on the rookies... because you know every one of them remembers when it happened to them, as well. Not all the game's traditions are on the field.