Chatham Anglers have a first baseman who likes to talk. Chats it up with all and sundry whole game long. Has conversations with the umpires, the other team's first base coach, every opposing player makes it down to first, even the ones who are only there in passing, on their way to second or on their way back to the dugout. Outgoing, you would say. And I wonder if that's a general trait for first basemen, along with being tall and quick and left-handed and able to hit with some power---chattiness. After all, of all the players on the field, first basemen get the most company. There can be crowds at third base sometimes, but runners don't spend a lot of time there usually, and at any rate when there's a runner on third, the game is at an intense moment and the runner and the third basemen need to focus.
But a runner can spend a good ten or fifteen minutes hanging around at first. Three long at bats that end in strike-outs or lazy flies and the runner and the first basemen will have lots of time to really get acquainted. Get the umpire and the first base coach involved, call down to the second basemen from time to time, and you've got a party out there.
So I wonder if it's common for first basemen to be gregarious types, natural born hosts, as it were.
At any rate, Chatham's first basemen seems a friendly guy.
He's something else too. Tricky.
Other night, Falmouth had a man on, fancied himself a base-stealer, probably because he was. He had the Ricky Henderson thing going on. A batting glove flapping from each back pocket, taking long leads in a low, low crouch with his legs spread wide. Give him a chance and he's going, all the way to third, he sees his way clear. So there he is, big lead and a big lean towards second, and the Chatham first baseman's playing well off the bag behind him, deep in the hole towards second, not bothering to hold the runner on, because Chatham's up by a few and there's two outs, who cares if he runs?
The first baseman breaks for the bag. You can hear the ball whipping over, smack into the first baseman's mitt. The runner's caught flat footed. He snaps his head around, frantically looking for the first baseman, loses his balance a bit as part of him takes off for second and another part tries to make it back to first, and a third just stands there saying, What the fuck!, which is the part of him that knows all of him is out by a mile, whichever way he goes.
Then it dawns on him. The pitcher isn't looking at him. The pitcher's looking in at the catcher. The pitcher's still holding the ball on his hip. The runner turns and glares at the first baseman, who's grinning from ear to ear, lazily punching his empty glove.
I'll bet he's been perfecting that trick and the sound effects since his first year of little league.