Big Dog’s Passed Ball to Haunt Him Forever
So there I was Wednesday night standing behind home plate, a position I was so familiar with some 35 years ago, waiting for one Dennis Oliver to deliver the opening pitch of the night at the Quincy Gems home opener. It brought back so many memories for me to be behind the plate once again. It was all good as I waited for Mr. Oliver to loosen up his right arm in preparation of delivering a fastball strike right down the middle, just like it used to be.
I was dreaming of those days when I would throw out runners at second base trying to steal or occasionally picking off a runner at first base. I loved to call a game from back there, but on Wednesday night I knew my pitcher had only one pitch…a 45 mile an hour “straight-ball”. It’s hard to call a 45 mile per hour pitch a fast ball. So I put down one finger. Dennis agreed with my pitch selection and then he wound up and tossed that horsehide toward me.
It was like time froze. The ball stopped and all I could think was make sure you catch it. As it got closer to the plate I realized that this was not going to be a strike and that I was going to have to reach down to either catch it or block it like I used to do years ago. Then it happened. My dreams all blew up on me and a controversy was created.
The ball bounced to my left and skipped under my glove and went to the backstop. Was it a wild pitch or a passed ball? Regardless, not catching or stopping a pitch is a nightmare for any catcher even a former catcher like me. In front of all the fans the mighty Dorsey failed to make the play. It was compounded by the Public Address announcer bellowing out through his microphone “Passed Ball”. Oh, a double dagger in my heart.
So I walked off that field Wednesday with a memory that will linger with me for a long time. But, keeping it in perspective, it was the first passed ball I have had in 35 years and I challenge any catcher in America, professional or amateur, to break that record. Man, I love baseball.