Monday, September 27, 2010

I Spy, With My Little Eye, a Hit for Kyle Kendrick

Phils pitcher Kyle Kendrick was up against the Mets Saturday, and squirted a ground ball past a diving David Wright, then, a split second later, past Jose Reyes and into left.

"A seeing-eye single!" hollered Mets announcer Gary Cohen.

We watched the replay and saw just how perfectly the ball was placed.

"That one really did have eyes," added Ron Darling.

The seeing-eye single. The heretofore unknown "Lingo" page offers this for the SES:
A soft ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit. 

Wikipedia's "Baseball Glossary" prefers "seeing-eye ball" and defines it thusly:

A batted ground ball that just eludes capture by an infielder, just out of infielder's range, as if it could "see" where it needed to go. Less commonly used for a ball that takes an unusual lateral bounce to elude an infielder.

Many years ago, when Tim McCarver was announcing for the Metsies, he used to refer to such Manny Trillo-ian swats as "38-hoppers."

The seeing-eye single of course lends the term's creation to seeing-eye dogs, as if one of those wondrous labradors was out there on the field, guiding the ball through a narrow channel of defenders and into safe ground.

Ironically, seeing-eye single may have outlived its creator; I believe seeing-eye dogs are now called "guide dogs", perhaps a victim of political correctness centered around the handicapped handicapable in recent years.

"Seeing Eye Single" kicks up 6.8 million links on Google, but surprisingly, just a handful relating to baseball.

Wrote the Denver Post way back in April:

The proper way to act after reaching safely on a seeing-eye single? A sheepish smile and half-hearted fist-bump with the first-base coach, of course. After all, as the old baseball saying goes, it looks like a line drive in the box score.

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