The most exciting play

Eight-year-old Drew, during his first year of playing baseball. He hit a lot more triples than homeruns -- no wonder I like triples!

Eight-year-old Drew, during his first year of playing baseball, Vandenberg AFB, CA, 1992.
He hit a lot more triples than home runs — no wonder I like triples!

“The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them.”  — Hank Aaron

In typical fashion, Aaron turns the spotlight away from himself to voice an opinion I was relieved to read.  I thought I was the only one who loved triples better than home runs.

There’s something slightly anti-climactic about a home run, even when it cleans up the bases or ends the game.  With a home run, you’re there.  With a triple, it’s that sweet moment when victory is in your grasp, but not quite yours.

Singles put men on base and doubles bring them home, but triples are in a class by themselves; they are the epitome of achievement, where the hitter/runner delivers more than expected, pushing the tension to its very limit.  You’ll never see an arrogant batter jogging lazily around the bases in a triple.

As some of us celebrate the opening of another baseball season, remember that the greatest home run hitter of all time (STILL the greatest — Barry who?) understood the truth that getting there — especially when done with panache — is more than half of the fun.

 

18 Comments

  1. Good morning, Julia! So true!
    That tension before resolution is what often makes a musical piece so attractive, too.

    • I agree. I totally love watching conductors in such scenarios. Here’s one of my favorite examples of that. (See especially between about 4:50 and 5:10.)

      • Wow! That was spectacular! It is fun to see a great conductor at work. What a work-out! And that first-chair violinist was amazing (and has arms like an athlete)!

        • That violinist is fabulous, isn’t she? I wouldn’t be surprised if the world knows her name before too long.

  2. Personally I think the inside the park home run where the ball doesn’t clear the fence is the most exciting play. Where else can you get such action or drama?

    • Great point, Bob! I guess the reason that never occurred to me is that I can’t remember ever seeing an inside-the-park home run, at least not in a professional game. In college, sometimes the sluggers who played for our team would hit the ball beyond our fence-free center or left field, far beyond any fielder’s ability to reach it. But I don’t think that really counts as an inside-the-park thriller. Maybe one day I’ll be able to see one.

      • The rarest play is the unassisted triple play. I saw Ozzie Smith, shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, pull one of those out of his hat.

        • Yes, Drew and Jeff have told me about that amazing feat. “The Wizard” was stunning, and he played the position I like most of all. I must admit to liking defense even better than base running, and base running better than hitting. My personal favorite part of baseball is to see a well-turned double play — but only when the other team is at bat, of course. 🙂

  3. Cherie

    Thank you Julia for reminding us of the “joy” in triples! They are very exciting! Will he make it or not! I love baseball season and look forward to it every year. We used to go to the spring training games in central Florida. Loved it! I saw Chipper Jones when he was really young down in Baseball City, Florida. I loved the Braves in the 90’s. I pray Jeff and Matt are doing well and that you are good too. Have a beautiful day!

    • Cherie, I think spring training would be one of the best things about living in Florida. When we lived in CA we used to go to SoCal to watch the few teams in spring training there. It was so much fun; you would see these big-name players up close in these hometown-style ball parks, and I got some great photos of the A’s and Angels in those years. We are all doing fairly well. Thanks for keeping those prayers going. You are often in mine.

  4. raynard

    Julie for me it’s got to be a triple play or someone getting thrown out from the outfield trying to score.If I wasnt still a NYer rooting for my teams, i’m in between the Baltimore and Philadelphia but have to settle for The Blue Rocks minor league team. Bucket list is still a baseball and baskeball game along with the circus. As for Ballroom Dancing, I’ll still to watching ” Dancing with the Stars or reruns of Lawerence Welk. lol. Always in the prayers of my family you and yours. be blessed

    • Raynard when I read that part about getting thrown out trying to score, I was reminded of the stories about Jackie Robinson stealing home. That would be pretty exciting too. A lot of people say baseball is boring but I think it’s way less so than most sports. I am starting to think that minor league games are the most fun though. We always have such fun when we go see the Norfolk Tides play. I’m glad they still play reruns of Lawrence Welk (I saw Matt watching it once awhile back) – my Granny loved that show! Thanks for your prayers — you are often in mine. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. My husband likes baseball of all sports. And I watch it with him 🙂

    • Merry, I’m glad you watch baseball with your husband! When I watch it with Jeff I have to keep my questions to a minimum or I’ll drive him crazy asking about all the finer points of the game that go over my head. After all these years I still don’t really know that much about it, but I love it. Hope you are doing well! Thanks for being here.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, we’re still savoring Duke’s win on Monday night! But that mix of emotion, the dejection and the elation, is powerful. Your love of baseball, as well as your family’s, is sensed through your enthusiasm. We have a team here, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, but haven’t seen them play. We “keep meaning to”! I hope this week has been good, warmer, and some time on Verandah

    • Sheila, just to show you how little I know about sports, I had to ask Jeff what it was Duke won Monday night 😀 but of course he knew. We will have to catch a Pelicans game if we are ever in your neck of the woods during baseball season. Minor league ball — at least in Norfolk — is great fun, with lots of silly contests and funny shenanigans between innings and an all-around party atmosphere where everyone just enjoys being outside under the lights on a lovely night. If you get around to seeing a Pelicans game I hope you will enjoy it as much as we enjoy seeing the Tides. (Not to be confused with “The Tide” of football fame.) Today was so warm it was almost hot. I planted some annuals and one perennial, and cleared a bed that was badly in need of it. Verandah time! Tea for me, how about you? Have a lovely weekend, my friend!

      • Julia, we spent much of the day outside, too. Bill was doing some seasonal things (new flood light bulbs, new hose nozzles, etc) but nothing strenuous. We will reclaim our beach tomorrow. 🌊The Spring Break crowds combined with the Easter week vacationers have been overwhelming. 💤💤’s for me any minute now!

        • I do think that Spring Break crowds would be an endurance test for me if I lived at the seashore. It makes your enjoyment of “regular” days even more special. Hope you will have a few weeks of peace before the summertime vacation rush.

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