Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two Things You Do With a Guitar: Hold, Play

The runner takes his lead off first. It's a good lead.

The pitcher looks over.

The pitcher turns to the plate and looks in for the sign.

The runner is itching to steal and waits impatiently for the pitcher to throw to the plate.

He waits. He waits. He wiggles his fingers in anticipation.

The pitcher stares in at the plate. The batter says, one more second, and I'm calling time out.

Finally, the pitcher deals...

It happens dozens of times each day in the Majors, yet you probably never knew the name for it: the Hold Play.

Yes, this little lingo diamond came from none other than guitar virtuouso (or at least famous former baseball player who happens to play a little guitar, it can be hard to tell sometimes) Bernie Williams, in a New York Times Arts & Leisure profile about ballplayer-musicians.

Bernie says rhythm is essential both to baseball and music.

The Times writes:

Stealing a base — which Mr. Williams acknowledged was not his strong point, despite his great speed — also depends on the pitcher’s rhythm. Would-be base stealers can be thrown off their rhythm by the “hold play,” when a pitcher holds the ball interminably. He likened the tension of the delay to the space between notes in a jazz solo.

Williams nicked 147 bases in his career, with a season-high of 17 in 1996.

Ever the Renaissance man, Williams has co-authored a book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Musical and Athletic Performance, that's soon to hit stores.

No comments: