SQUEEZED

APRIL 1990

Coach outlined his strategy.

“We want to take away the suicide squeeze… Runner on 3rd. Less than two outs. If there is any indication that the batter might bunt, I will call for time…”Just to make sure everyone was paying attention, he made a ‘T’ with his hands and bellowed:

“TIME!”

“We will bring the leftfielder in the play third base. The centerfielder will shift. The rightfielder will shift. The former to left-center. The latter to right-center.”

I will replace what happened next by saying this strategy was discussed long before computer generated models depicting where a batter most often places batted balls in the field causing the opposing team to create a premeditated shift in their positioning was a glint in a baseball statistician’s eye.

What was really happening in this moment was coach testing whether we knew what he meant by ‘former’ & ‘latter’.

I mentioned the centerfielder first, so he’s the former. I mentioned the leftfielder second, so he’s the latter.

First – former. Second – latter.

“The leftfielder will play third base, to prevent the runner from taking to big of a lead off the bag towards home. The third baseman will be brought in halfway between third and home… This will take away the suicide squeeze.”

I was the third baseman.

“You’re going to take away the suicide squeeze and leave me with the suicide?”

I didn’t actually say that. I didn’t talk back.

Third base is called the ‘hot corner’ for a reason. The ball comes very quickly off the bat of a right handed hitter who can really turn on a pitch with great bat speed.

The term was coined in a game with wooden bats.

This was high school.

We played with aluminum bats.

Hotter corner.

“Cardillo, if the batter doesn’t show bunt… And he is swinging way… You will have to sprint at break neck speed to the right to avoid being hit by a batted ball from 45 feet away.”

A ball hit off an aluminum bat. Today, the calculation of a ball off a wooden bat is about 120 mph.

And you think paintballs leave welts?

In short, to avoid taking a line drive to the temple or off the old athletic supporter, run for your life towards the cyclone fence – or, as my coach ended the talk with:

“And try not to run like a girl doing it.”

 

By The Improviser's Guide

The Improviser's Guide Network was created by Frank Cardillo, a Queens, NY based Creator & Producer. Frank has appeared throughout New York City performing improvisation and standup comedy, including performances at Super Bowl XLVIII, Turning Stone Casino, Gotham Comedy Club, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and for 15 years off the shores of Lake Ontario at the Sterling Renaissance Festival as their emcee, Lenny Burrows. Most recently, Frank was part of the cast for the New York City premiere of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival hit, Overheard at Joe's (formerly Joe's NYC Bar). Since 2009, Frank has been the Founder and Producing Director of the 'Raft of Comic Knockouts' known as [By The Mummers]. Known for their 'unpredictable, coming out-of-nowhere humor' (Backstage), their musical 'BLOOD' was a Next Link Selection of the New York Musical Theatre Festival and was named 'Best of the Fest' by Davenport Theatricals. [By The Mummers] are the reigning, defending Champions of the Down Under Improv Festival. Besides serving as a member of the writing team for several original [By The Mummers] events, Frank has had public stagings of two original modern Commedia dell'Arte performances and has devised several structured scenarios for productions in New York City and across the state. In September 2015, [By The Mummers] held a public staged reading of Frank's historical, satirical, farce, 'The Double Play' at Foley's, Home to the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame. In June 2016, Frank debuted 'The Improviser's Guide to Being a Better Birth Partner' onstage Off Off Broadway. He has performed this one man piece in New York City on multiple occasions with a book in the works. Following years as an adjunct faculty member at Stony Brook University, Frank has applied his improvisation experience in training employees at Macy's Herald Square, Carnegie Hall, & the Sterling Renaissance Festival. Frank has been the recipient of the Impresario Award for supporting New Play Development, as well as a Rollie Award winner for his service to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2008, he received the Spirit of Christmas Award.

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