Smickler leads off first base. Full count on the batter. Wheatley gets the sign, checks the runner. Smickler’s got a big lead. He digs in his cleat. Wheatley throws over to Himmel at first! Smickler beats him back to the bag! And we’ll do it again.
Smickler leads the league with 75 stolen bases despite having only the one leg, which fans remember he lost in the offseason in that flash mob accident. But he’s been baseball’s comeback story of the year, and no one knows it better than the Tennessee Smokies. He’s stolen 11 bases off them alone, and they’re determined not to let him nab number 12 here tonight.
Smokies clinging to a two-one lead. Wheatley, from the stretch, checks the sign. The windup. And there goes Smickler! Wheatley throws over to Himmel and they’ve got him in a rundown.
Himmel to Leroy at second back to Jared the catcher at first, back to the shortstop Glanville – now all the Smokies have joined the rundown. Doesn’t look like Smickler’s getting out of this one. Back to Delroy at first, who ran all the way in from left field, back to the third baseman Manning, back to Wheatley – they just can’t seem to close the gap on Smickler, folks. Boy, he has deceiving speed.
Tennessee Skipper Bud Radford is out of the dugout, sending in signs to his defense. It looks like – oh my, Radford has signaled for the Old Speed Bump! Outfielders Wimby and Bradley are down on all fours, and now Smickler has to hop over them to avoid the tag.
Folks, it might seem unsportsmanlike to trip a one-legged man. But when you’re trying to put the brakes on a runner with Smickler’s speed, this is just good old-fashioned tactical baseball.
Delroy to Jared to Leroy to Wheatley, back to Manning to Himmel to Glanville – and they still can’t tag out Smickler. Look at him go! He hops Wimby, ducks Manning, hops Bradley – holy smokes! He lost his cleat! Smickler lost his cleat! He’s done for now, especially with the Old Speed Bump on.
Radford sends in another sign. What are the Smokies doing now? Oh my, they’ve got the cleat! The Smokies have Smickler’s cleat and they’re tossing it back and forth, the old Cleat Keep Away! The Smokies know he can’t avoid them for long without the cleat, not with the Od Speed Bump on, and it’s monkey in the middle as Smickler grasps for his shoe. How about that!
Himmel to Wheatley to Glanville to Jared who flubs the cleat. He’ll have to hurry the throw, folks – a cleat in the dirt to Leroy to – oh my, what a snag by Smickler! And the scorekeeper indicates that’ll be an error on Jared.
Smickler laces up as Radford sends in another sign. It looks like – yes, it is! The Smokies have gone deep into the playbook with the Old Rolling Thunder! Now all the Smokies are on the ground, rolling back and forth, trying to trip up Smickler – and look at him hop!
Over Himmel then Bradley then Delroy and now Manning. He lands on Wheatley’s face and he’s stumbling, stumbling … wait a minute. No one’s covering second! That’s a rookie mistake by Glanville – the shortstop always covers second during Old Rolling Thunder. Smickler hops over Wimby, now Jared, and dives for the bag. Safe! Number 76 on the year. He’s some kind of baserunner, folks.
Wheatley from the stretch. Smickler leads off second.