In baseball we often hear the term “three true outcomes.” What this means, for those of you who need to know what things mean, is that the outcomes known as the home run, the strikeout and the walk, being three and not two or four in number, are the only outcomes that are true and not false. (If you didn’t know this, you are lucky that it wasn’t an essay question.) For those of you who need to know what things mean on a deeper, more satisfying level, know this: The outcomes are “true” because they do not involve long, detailed stories of my sexual conquests, including the ones in Canada. They are “true,” too, because when it comes to pitcher-hitter showdowns, they represent the only events that don’t rely on the defense, be it a nickel package or a 3-4. As an aside, I should say that a 3-4 would be a good defense to run against Mike Trout. He is very fast, and very strong.
As another aside, I should say that when it comes to the pitcher-hitter showdowns as previously described, three false outcomes would be these:
1) The measles outbreak of 1687
2) The Pat Metheny album Orchestrion
But “false,” if you must know, is patently different than “untrue.”
Why? Because I say it is, and I am not kidding.
And so, in the spirit of the vast but subtle difference between untruth and falsehood, I give you a list of three untrue outcomes from my baseball past:
1) It is a warm summer night in Dallas. The air is filled with excitement, and also cigarette smoke. It is the bottom of the final inning. My team is down 5-2, with two outs. The bases are loaded. The count is 3-2. The pitcher, being a pitcher, pitches the ball. Being a batter, I bat the ball, very hard, in the gap between centerfield and right. The crowd is screaming, and also coughing. I begin rounding the bases. One run in. Two runs in. Three runs in. I round third base, headed for home. The throw bounces into the catcher. I slide. In a cloud of dust I look toward the umpire, to see if we have won or tied. The umpire is Pat Metheny, and he has the measles of 1687.
2) It is a warm summer night in Dallas. I am at shortstop. The batter hits a pop-up. I position myself and make the catch. Once the ball is securely in my glove, I make love to the entire cast of Canadian General Hospital.
3) It is a warm summer day in Knoxville, Tennessee. My team is one out away from winning the national championship. A batter on the opposing team hits a deep fly ball to left field. Our left fielder backs up to the fence and begins to settle under it. I raise my arms in anticipation of victory — and a national title. Just as he raises his glove, his left cleat gets stuck under the chain-link fence. The ball drops to the ground. Two runners cross the plate. We lose the game, and the national title.
Oh, wait. That last one is just unreal, not actually untrue.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.