Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mets Manager Introduces New York to 'Dirtball Read'

During the Mets game last night, the broadcast shifted to a taped interview with manager Mickey Callaway, who addressed a question about the Mets' general lack of speed, and said that savvy and aggressive baserunning can make up for the mostly old, mostly slow runners on the Mets squad.
Callaway talked about a ball in the dirt, and how a smart baserunner can make a good "dirtball read" and bolt to the next base.

In fact, he said "dirtball read" twice.
And when the interview ended and things went back to the booth, Gary Cohen was delighted to share the new baseball term he'd picked up.
Yes, dirtball read. How well you pick up on a pitch in the dirt.
Ron Darling offered his own take on "dirtball read," saying how his parents would advise him to stay away from a "slovenly person" when he was a kid.
The guys sensed they were on to a cool, funky term. "It may be viral," they said. "It may be a t-shirt."
Googling "dirtball read," I see the term has been around for a bit. Here's Pittsburgh City Paper last month:

On March 19, Gerrit Cole had his best spring-training outing to date. The Pirates pitcher struck out five and gave up only one run, and the control on his fastball was pretty masterful. But when he met with reporters after the game, it was his other performance that started the conversation.
Cole went 1-2 at the plate with a two-run single, and almost a stolen base. He took second on a pitch in the dirt; the official scorer didn’t award him the steal, but he wasn’t discouraged.
“That’s all right. I’m not chasing stolen bags, I’m chasing stars,” Cole said referring to the “Stargell Stars” that coaches hand out for standout performances. He was looking for one from Kimera Bartee, the Bucs’ first-base and base-running coach. “And what we say in here is the fastest way to get a star is to get 90 feet. KB’s real generous with those stars, so I’m hoping I get my first one.”
Cole even impressed his manager, Clint Hurdle. “It’s called a dirtball read,” Hurdle said with a smile.

And here's the Boston Globe four years ago, when Mike Napoli dislocated his finger. 

“Good dirtball read like that, I was digging myself, and then I looked at my finger and it’s freakin’ sideways so it’s good news it’s not broken,” Napoli said. “I know I hit the bag pretty hard and I looked and it was right there in front of my face, then I saw it and I went, ‘oh, God’ [umpire] Jim Joyce was going ‘oh my God,’ calling for the trainer. It’ll be all right.”