Whoever said that "familiarity breeds contempt" probably watched some baseball - or at least caught a few innings of R.A. Dickey in relief. That's a negative way to begin this article, I suppose, because really, one of my favorite aspects of the baseball season is the comfortability that accompanies bringing, say, Denard Span into your home every night. There's a certain consistency and congeniality that comes with the 162-grind; a trust, knowing they'll be there most days or nights.
And with said comfortabiluty, that "familiarity," there's a 6th sense that we get used to with our boys as they pass the 100-game point of the season - knowing their stances, their windups, their respective kinks, idiosyncrasies, and mannerisms. Or, as I like to refer to them - "Twinerisms." Here are a few of my favorites that have surely been noted by you as well, gentle reader.
And for those that I've no doubt missed: please feel free to share them (both the celebrated and untoward) in the Comment section of the page.
Mouthing the expectant pitch - "Fastball, fastball, fastball . . .". When watching the televised side of the pitcher unavailable to him, it's fun to guess if he's right.
Whenever he smacks a good one, there's that split millisecond of head-risen, wide-eyed, almost kid-like pride and expectation on his face. It's probably the most he'll ever emote publicly.
This one filed more under the afore-noted "untoward," but damn - most times a ball comes his way in left, there's that half-second "freak out," like toeing the lake water to see just how cold it really is.
Probably my personal favorite as most slow-mo replays of his swing catch it: eyes in a state of near-freakish rage, cheeks puffed like Louie Armstrong. The whole face mirrors and exhibits the exertion of his powerful frame.
Kind of a subtle one: but from the stretch, the way he masks his pitch grip has a near-skeletal quality; for reasons unexplained, it kind of reminds me of that guy "Benny" in Total Recall, who ultimately reveals his freakish claw.
Does sniffing the bat really do anything?
He offers a brief blink/wink (a sign to his wife?) of the left eye prior to each pitch.
Would his equine-like, facial-breathing be best characterized as a whinny, a neigh, or a snort?
Is sucking a mannerism?