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.

13 thoughts on “Can of Corn”

  1. Infield fly rule. If there are runners on base and the ball is popped up, the runners can’t leave base until the ball is caught, but if the infielder intentionally lets the ball drop, the base runners then have to advance and they are dead meat, probably caught in a double play. That’s what the infield fly rule is intended to prevent…one guy is out, but not multiple guys.

    • Yes. The batter is called out and, thus, the runners are not forced to try to advance; they may safely stay at their bases even if the fielder drops the fly ball. The runners may try to advance if they wish, but are not required to do so.

  2. Yesterday I bought a used iPhone 3g for $20 to replace our severely autistic daughter’s iPod which failed to work anymore on Sunday. All seems well with it, though it did give me a surprise this morning. Since I powered it up and explored its contents (over a thousand songs and a hundred photos and videos that the seller said to just delete), I failed to notice one little thing. He got up each morning at 4 a.m. to prepare for the day, so at 4 a.m. I woke up to the sound of a bongo drum alarm.

  3. Jimmy, today’s was one of the sweetest I think I’ve ever read here on the blog. I can’t explain it ‘cept maybe because my son played baseball …. no that’s not it. It was just enjoyable.

  4. Jimmy:

    When I was about seven or eight, my dad threw an easy fly to me, I spooked and turned my head. It hit me behind the right ear. I was ball shy for the rest of the summer.

    My son at that age was a different matter. One of my pitches bounced out of his glove and hit him on the nose. He shook it off and told me to throw another one.

  5. My father had died, so my mother had me go to Little League. I am a slow kinesthetic learner, but I can learn. Usually, I was sent to right field, but this one evening they put me on first base! I was eager (not anxious—the words are often confused) to prove myself. And here comes a hot grounder just my way! Oh, boy! I put myself in front of it—it took a bad hop—and hit me pow in the nose. Blood coming out, I ran to the medic place, yelling to my mother, “I told you so!”

  6. Growing up I loved baseball. I was good. I was never afraid of the ball. Sometimes I got hurt, from a bad hop or such but I was never afraid. .. fast forward 35 years… bifocals… I’m moving hard for the ball and the ball is bouncing up and down changing positions and scared me like I had never been. Thus ensuring the permanent loss of my youth.

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