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Dating baseball bases

Except for a quarterback, the pitcher is the most important player in team sports. If you are an amazing pitcher surrounded by eight Neanderthals, you still have a shot at winning. Many years down the road, when you are forced into long conversations about wedding centerpieces with your fiancée, you will be ready. The virtue of repetition is drilled into your skull. You discover early in life the secret to success is logging the hours every day and slowly improving.

But put a weak-armed Neanderthal on the mound, and you're probably going to lose, even if the pitcher is surrounded by eight all-stars. That means you learned to talk to adults at a young age. No offense, and this isn't always the case, but you are usually a coach's son or one of the lesser-skilled players on the team—someone whose interest in baseball and picking dandelions runs about 50/50. You might be an athletic fielder who can outstretch Van Damme and save a fellow infielder when he goes all Ricky Vaughn on a routine grounder. As the shortstop's runner-up, you have a chip on your shoulder. The chip on your shoulder grows larger over time until either: Shortstops are reliable. But the often-tedious road to incremental improvement has an exciting destination. You just kind of end up there for some reason and you're not sure why. As the guy who plays the least physically demanding position on the field, you are quite aware that your place on the team hangs by the thinnest of threads.

In those eight at-bats, you see a couple of lucky bloopers (every hot streak has a few), one opposite-field double off the outfield wall, line drives sprayed to left, right, and center, and two hits — one bunt, one slow grounder — that Turner legged out on speed alone.

The bunt went straight back to the mound, and Turner reached without a throw, while the ground ball caught Manny Machado, of all people, on his heels.

After Tigers first baseman Johnny Neun stole five bases in a game against the Yankees in July of 1927, Major League Baseball went more than 44 years without a five-steal game before Amos Otis did it for the Royals in 1971.

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