The Tuesday Discussion: Tricks and Treats...
October 31, 2023
This week, we asked our writers to respond to the following:
Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween. Please share the greatest trick play in baseball that you ever saw... OR... share your favorite Yankee Stadium treat... OR share the most frightening thing you ever saw on a baseball field.
Here are their replies:
Lincoln Mitchell - When I was in 11th grade I was on the high school baseball team. One of my teammates was 9th grader named Duncan. Duncan was a good ballplayer who ended up playing Division One soccer in college. Duncan played shortstop and I played first base. This was back in the early 1980s. We had an excellent coach named Frank who combined a deep passion for and knowledge of the game with a sense of humor and real decency. At that time Frank was in his 30s which made him seem old to us. Because of the Paul Simon song “Lincoln Duncan,” Frank would always confuse me and Duncan. If you knew us that would seem even funnier. Duncan was an all-American looking, blond haired, right-handed shortstop. I was a left-handed Jewish hippie who played first base and the outfield. During one game when Frank had already confused us a few times, Duncan and I made eye contact across the diamond. When Frank turned away in the dugout we sprinted across the field and switched positions. When Frank looked over I was there with my first-baseman’s glove at shortstop and Duncan was over at first base. Frank took it in good humor. The happy ending to the story is that we are all still friends all these years later.
Paul Semendinger - As a guy still pitching a baseball against live batters, when I see a pitcher get hit by a line drive it causes pause. Tanner Houck took a line drive off the bat of Kyle Higashioka earlier this year. That's never fun to see. It's frightening.
Of note, I always say a prayer asking for me, and all the players to be safe, right before my warmups before each inning that I pitch.
Ed Botti - My favorite trick play took place in the 1972 World Series. Rollie Fingers pitching, Gene Tenace catching and Johnny Bench at the plate. With 2 strikes, Gary Nolan stole 2nd base, opening up first base.
Before the next pitch there was a meeting on the mound. When play resumed, Tenace stood up and extended his arm signaling an intention walk. As Fingers went into his delivery, Tenace went back into his catcher’s crouch and Fingers threw a perfect curve ball for strike 3. Bench put his head down and walked back to the plate.
Cary Greene - The most frightening thing I ever saw on a baseball team occurred over 30 years ago, back when I was coaching varsity baseball for a rural school in the Catskills that had an incredibly good little league system that produced very good teams at all levels of the school system. It wasn't uncommon to see a large wake of buzzards circling over head and often, they would form during games. It also happened that my team would ofen pile up leads by substantial margins over the visitors and I have to say, the forming of the wake of buzzards must have been very unnerving to the opposing teams over the years so I do think these events has to qualify as the scariest thing I ever saw on a baseball field.
I recall hearing opposing players and fans bemoaning the score and when the buzzards showed up en masse, the opposition all but gave up. Meanwhile, the home team was quite used to these events as they often happened when we were practicing, so we pretty much thought nothing of it - save for a few snickers when he heard opposing fans become unnerved as their school's team was facing certain doom.
Mike Whiteman - My favorite treat I've had at a ballpark was a whoopie pie at a Lancaster Barnstormers (Atlantic League) game.
Tim Kabel - My favorite treat at Yankee Stadium has changed over the years. Originally, it was a sausage with peppers, onions, and mustard. Now, I like either the pulled pork sandwich or some thing like a shaved steak or a prime rib sandwich. The variety in the quality of the food has improved greatly over the years. However, on a hot day, I still like a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade, and an ice cream in a helmet. The biggest treat of all is being able to enjoy any of those things with my sons.