- Tell a guy that he only has to count the laces on one side of a baseball to get the total count. Then sit back and watch his curiosity get the better of him. As he’s trying to concentrate on counting, wait till he’s up to about 40 or so, then walk up silently behind him and start whispering ……. 14 …22 …5 …19 ….
- A baseball that’s been pretty well banged around, inning after inning, has a way of talking to a pitcher. After being wacked repeatedly for a single, countless frozen ropes to the shortstop, repeated high flies deep into the outfield, give the ball to the pitcher sitting in the dugout and say, “ I think that little guy is trying to tell ya something.”
When your guy says, “What?” Say, “Its saying… thanks a lot Rudy.”
- I had a pitcher that always had a smile during his entire presence on the mound. A few years after he was gone, I found out why the smiles. It seems that he had what he called a “saddle back” glove. This glove had on the outside back, a sewed in piece of leather that his middle finger would slip into, while the rest of his fingers and thumb would remain in the glove. He would get extra pleasure and a boost in self-confidence, buy putting the glove up to his face, just enough so he could see over the fingers, then discretely show the batter the “bird.”
In collegiate summer league, we’d see who could get the bat boy to ask the umpire for the box of left handed curveballs or the key to the batter’s box.
How about those guys who would talk to the ball? Like Mark Fidrych, who actually conversed with the ball between pitches. And there was a guy named Bill Faul, who it was said would hypnotize his pitching arm or otherwise talk to it: “Hi, arm” or “How’re you doing, arm?” or “All right, do your stuff, arm”—not that it did much good because he had his shortcomings as a pitcher.
On a related note, we would pick a random freshmen each year in college to “plug the plate” after practice. We would proceed to try to contain our laughs as they busted their butts trying to pry the plate out of the ground.