It is literally the only time I cheer in the press box. And it’s not over a play, but rather over an official scoring decision. This is how it goes down:
It’s late in the game and usually a blowout. A runner advances to second base with no move by the pitcher, catcher or infield to deter the move. Not even a glance of the eye.
“Do not credit Ryan Goins with a stolen base,” official scorer Kevin Lester announces in the Buffalo Bisons press box. He knows me well enough to offer a dramatic pause. “Goins advances to second,” dramatic pause “on defensive indifference.”
YES! I holler and thrust my arms in the air in victory.
Defensive indifference is my favorite call in all of sports. In. All. Of. Sports. There isn’t even a close second.
I just love defensive indifference. It’s a big “screw you” from the pitcher and catcher. Go ahead. Take a base. We don’t care. Whatevs. Ain’t gonna bother me.
It’s the ultimate metaphor for being in the present moment. That batter got on base? Yep. Maybe the pitcher made a mistake and the guy ripped a single to right. Maybe he lost control and walked the guy on four pitches. But instead of worrying about the runner, about the past miscue, the pitcher is focused on the batter — the current situation. Get the batter out. That’s what’s most in the pitcher’s control. Picking a guy off at first, atoning for a past mistake so to speak, is the type of play which garners attention and cheers and possibly SportsCenter highlights. But taking care of what’s right in front of you, what’s most in your control, that’s the stuff which gives you longevity and strength and success.
So what if that guy gets to second. Hell, he can have third. But this guy at the plate? He’s not driving you in. This challenge in front of me? That’s all mine.
And that’s why I love defensive indifference.