Friday, April 01, 2011

Hu’s playing shortstop:

Did Abbot and Costello curse? Their “Who’s on First” routine ends (in various recordings) with Costello saying something like, “And I don’t give a darn!” To which Abbott responds, “Oh, he’s our shortstop.”

I have long wondered whether, in night clubs, Costello actually said “And I don’t give a $*&#!”, which would have turned Abbott’s rejoinder into a far funnier finish. Searching the Web, I found no suggestion that A & C ever finished their routine that way, but I did find a wonderful parody of the routine, about buying a computer. It gets better as it goes along. And best of all, it was written by ‘me’ (otherwise known as Wackyonesf).

It would be perfect if the Mets could trade for a utility infielder named Watt. Now, on to (relevant) baseball:

On March 31st, Jason Isringhausen was trying to complete a good inning of relief, to keep the score tied. There were two out, a runner on third, and the opposing pitcher was at bat. Dale Murphy was playing third, and Hu was at shortstop.

Murphy’s problem, which the announcers explained after the play, was that he was “guarding the line,” that is, playing very close to third. Typically a third baseman will do this when the greatest danger the batter offers is a hard drive just inside the foul line, for a double. Had the runner been on first instead of third, and had a power hitter been up, that would be good tactics. But any single by the batter would bring the runner in, and a pitcher was unlikely to pull Isringhausen’s pitches down the line.

In fact, the batter hit a bouncer into the hole between 3rd and short, an easy play for Murphy, had he been in position. Both players ran for the ball. It bounced off Murphy’s glove, pitcher was safe, and the run scored. And of course, the announcer said, “If Murphy had stayed out of the way, Hu would have gotten it.” Oh, who’s going to be fun, this season? Isn’t he?

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