The two most prolific thoughts on most men’s minds are sex and sports. This is by far not a new development. For years the two have been linked in terminologyâ€”the infamous "bases." The problem is that now no one knows or agrees on what each base constitutes, other than home plate.
Why baseball? Because the sport is based on one-on-one match-ups and values both individual skill and team strategy. For our purposes, the men are batting and women are in the field, with the emphasis on the pitcher and batter. Women can hit too of course, but like softball, the base paths are shorter and the ball is bigger and easier to hit.
Next time you and your friends are recounting stories or prepping for the big game, use this lingo to get the point across.
Fastball: Nothing fancy or tricky here, just a straight shot through the strike zone. While a slow or average fastball is easy to hit, a hard one with some movement is a challenge. If you can spot it, get the bat around and hit it squarely, it will go.
Curve: Catches you off-balance. Looks good on the way but breaks at the last minute. Biggest curveball is "I have a boyfriend." If you don’t pick it up early, you’ll swing at one in the dirt. Keep an eye out for a hanger, such as one that just broke up with her boyfriend and discovered he’s hitting.
Changeup: Playing hard to get. Just be patient. It might be best to take a few to get a read before taking a crack.
Splitter: Attractive from far away. Looks like a hard fastball coming out but quickly drops out of the strike zone. If you swing and miss, it’ll be that much more embarrassing.
Cut fastball: The real bitch of the bunch: the mother hen. Like Mariano Rivera’s pitch in his prime, the cutter is downright nasty, especially when looking sharp. It’s the only thing standing between your team and a late-inning rally. If you’re not careful, you can be left at the plate with a broken bat in your hands. If you manage to get around on one, chances are you’ll only hit a blooper, but it might be just enough for your team to score the winning run. Like Bill Mueller and Luis Gonzalez, you’ll forever be regarded as a hero.
Knuckle ball: You have no idea what to make of this. Can look soft and hittable, but also very confusing. Sometimes it just dances around crazily and other times it doesn’t do anything.
Slider: Hot and moves very quickly. Hard to hit but very rewarding.
Gyro ball: The supermodel, the actress, the fantasy. She’s exotic, amazing and so far only myth. You’ve heard about her but haven’t seen her. You might doubt her existence but hold out hope.
The "bases" are the most known and most disputed terms. The only definite is crossing the plate. The other three bases are up in the air and they should be in order to encourage imaginations. Seriously, do you really want a set definition for second and third or would you rather think about it? There are many ways to reach.
Base hit: A hit’s a hit, whether it’s an infield single or a hard shot up the middle.
Ground Rule Double: The pitcher is "waiting." While a hit that one hops the fence could have been legged out for another base or two, ballplayers must respect the rules of the game. A double is still a hit and far better than striking out, and can also net an RBI on the play.
Homerun: Inside-the-park vs. over-the-fenceâ€”it’s still scored a homer. Scoring on a ball that didn’t leave the park will take hustle, luck and possibly a defensive misplay, but can be done and is a lot more memorable. Keep in mind that a standing triple is better than being cut down at the plate.
Walk: Abbreviate BB for base on balls or DD for drunk and/or desperate. The pitches don’t look that great so you don’t swing. You wind up on base but it wasn’t because of anything you did and you won’t get much respect from either team for keeping the bat on your shoulder. Seriously, ladies, who would you rather face, Bobby Abreu or Big Papi?
Hit By Pitch: The Fat Friend. You try to get out of the way but it’s coming right at you. You take one for the team and reach base, but it hurts. You hope you get lifted for a pinch runner.
Dropped Third Strike: You should be out but took a last chance and hustled down the line. The inning is still alive and a rally is possible.
There are many different strategies and swings but the objective is the same. Not all matchups are favorable however, and it might even be wise to wait a few innings to get into the bullpen.
Just remember: Big boys don’t steal or sacrificeâ€”they play for the big inning. You just can’t always swing for the fences. If home runs were easy to hit, then there wouldn’t be much honor to them. Single, double, triple, suicide squeeze (think about it), even a warning track fly or a fielder’s choice; it’s all about having a good time and helping out your team. Everyone hits and everyone wins. Great teams are made of great team players and are rewarded with championship ringsâ€¦just like the ’86 Celtics. Yes, a basketball article is on its way. Until then, put on your uniforms and spikes, get out your gloves and pine tar if you use it, and play ball!