This morning I tweeted:

   I might start a blog that begins with a breakdown of this play.

So I am going to try something new.  Instead of veiling a sincere thought as a joke, I am actually going to create the thing. Channeling my inner Art Williams you could say.

Here is the 7-second play that sparked this blog.

My 7-second take: the play is awesome.

Here are 604 additional words on the play:

You and I have been around baseball for a long time.  We are fond of saying every time you go the ballpark you see something you’ve never seen before, but what we often mean is I’ve seen it all. And make no mistake, many of us have seen this play before in one form or another, yet this clip has collected over 4,000 retweets and 6,000 likes.  People other than Mike Rooney are surprised and delighted by it.

Why?

Because even though many baseball “purists” hate change, seeing this coach defy the status quo is thrilling. To call this play is to think about a different way to score a run.  To call this play is to take a chance that this might not work. To call this play means to explain its merits to skeptical kids.  To call this play is to practice this play, right down to the catchy signal from the third base coach. To call this play is to allow yourself and your players to have fun with the game.  In other words, to call this play is hard.  And some people don’t go for that.

I cannot let the play get off unscathed though.

A perfect summer-baseball storm allowed this to happen.

  • The left-handed pitcher facing away from the runner and the excited third-base coach (sadly not pictured).
  • The pitcher in the full windup, his journey from start to finish timed most accurately with a sun dial.
  • The high fastball tailing away just as our little league coach Mr. Lofland promised, because as everyone knows Tommy has that natural lefty tail on his ball.
  • The batter remembering the take sign so as not to decapitate the runner a’la so many Tom and Jerry cartoons.

These ingredients yield you no less than a successful play, a coach who feels like a genius, a giddy fan base, and a viral vine on the internet.

Other:

I’m going to need a better prep step out of the short stop. Great kid, I just need you here.

Bless the second baseman‘s heart.  He sees it coming.  He jogs it in to the infield grass. He even puts the right hand on the hip to show obligatory frustration.  Too little, too late I’m afraid, but points earned nonetheless.

The batter.  The dude sells it.  Notice the bat waggle before the pitch arrives.  This kid has swag, but my guess is that he adds a little extra on that pre-pitch routine for the occasion. He takes the appropriate stride to open the legs. He stands tall.  He lets the magic happen. He almost earns a perfect ten here.  But life is not fair, and penalties must be assessed.  No tag is applied.  Why does he look at the umpire so hopefully?  You’ve practiced this play dozens of times a day for years to arrive at this moment. You are about to go viral young man. You know he’s safe. No umpire is going to take this away from you and the proud father screaming “yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”  Speaking of. . .

The yell. This man is flat-out tickled.  As junior is sliding head first into Bleacher Report folklore, this man has made peace with whatever fee he has paid for his son to play summer baseball.  Tonight he will have a cold beverage of his choice smiling at what a great job (insert coach’s first name here) has done with the boys.  The lack of shade and proper bathroom facilities for spectators will no longer matter.  Bring your own chair?  A small price to pay, he’ll think.  Today my boy slid through someone’s legs to score a run.

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