Since he came to the San Francisco Giants, in a a trade on July 31st of 2012, I gradually became aware of Hunter Pence, baseball player. The unusual way Pence moves, swings, and also, looks, came across clearly from all the Giants fans I follow on twitter. There is this facial expression:Which, while not all that creepy, per se, becomes more so when you realise that this is just his regular, calm face. There is a kind of, shall we say, intensity there that never goes away. It gives way, instead, to his actual intense expression:
Which, is more attention grabbing than I can manage in the mirror, even on my best mornings. So, there is a certain aura about Pence which follows him around the baseball diamond. That kind of thing is destined to stir up a little bit of magic with it.
Imagine, if you will, two trains, one coming with Hunter Pence on board, leaving San Fransisco at 8 am. The other train is leaving Improbability station on the same track, with Physics on board, headed towards The Playoffs at 8am. Earlier I wrote a post about a couple of things that showed up via the Improbability train.
Eventually, the two trains are bound to collide, and Hunter Pence will add an extra dimension to the unlikely. Now kids, if you are trying to learn the game at home, please look away, this is a professional player at work. You'll want to do this differently.
So, to summarise, he used his empty hand to deflect the ball onto the heel of his glove. Because that works all the time.
I have, of course, not showed you the main act yet. That catch was the encore. It was a little mint of flamboyance after the main meal of Hunterish Penceness. In the second inning, Pence was on deck, and took this practice swing.
Now I watched Gregg Zaun and Jamie Campbell discuss the way in which this swing simply does not look like a useful warm-up of any kind. Zaun noted that the swing was about Hunter doing that "With a thought in his mind, something he's trying to remind himself."
"I don't want that thought," was Campbell's glib response.
In the third inning, with the bases loaded, Pence was batting. We got to see the results of that unusual practice swing. Hunter's real swing netted him a broken bat double and three RBI. Not just any broken bat, however, and not just any double, either. If you are a fan, you've probably seen this before, in my opinion, there's no reason not to see it again.
The patented TripleHitDouble. This is some next level stuff, really. The DoubleDouble is two grades below, the NoHandsMaHomeer is one grade below, and then there's this. At 1500 frames per second, its clear as day that there are three instances of contact. On a ball that stayed fair, and drove in three runs.
To paraphrase a quote from Dayn Perry. "I traffic in words, but for this I have none."
Because Hunter Pence, because the Playoffs, and because 1500 frames per second. This is the moment that I feel best captures the Baseball Magic for all of 2012.
If you have a different feeling about what was most magical about 2012, let me know in the comments.
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