Can of Corn

Also from the Where I Get My Ideas Dept: When I was a young boy, I was in the backyard of our house, throwing a baseball as high as I could and catching it. My father was there, too, watching me. Like Arlo in the strip today, Daddy spent a lot of his free time sitting quietly outside, observing the world around him. Thus, he saw me commit the identical fielding error that befalls little Gene above. He laughed and asked if I were OK, in that order. Our old house sat back from the street, and a little while later I watched from the front porch as my father walked to town. Yes, it really was that kind of environment. I saw him pause and talk to a neighbor man. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but I saw my father’s hands go high in the air in a pantomime of my baseball prowess, and I knew. So, the “can of corn” thing? It is ancient baseball slang. According to the Major League Baseball Web site, a “can of corn” is an easily caught fly ball hit to an outfielder. It goes back to the days when grocers would fulfill customers’ orders by climbing a tall ladder and gently pitching merchandise down to an associate below. Now, if the fly ball is hit to an infielder, and there are runners on first and second or runners on first, second and third with less than two outs, well… that becomes an entirely different matter.