Intimidation, Pandemic Baseball

The Story Of Buddy Bell's Line Drive Up The Middle

In lieu of actual baseball, I’ll be posting snippets that were cut from The Baseball Codes as a way of amusing myself and, hopefully, you. Today’s theme: intimidation.

Indians pitcher Larry Anderson: “In spring training with Cleveland in 1975, Buddy Bell was our third baseman. Gaylord Perry is throwing our batting practice. Buddy always took his batting practice rounds in order: first time hit to right, second time pull, third time, up the middle.

“The third time, he hits the first a line drive right off the screen. Gaylord yells, ‘Don’t be hitting that back at me, even with the screen.’ Buddy says, ‘That’s what I’m doing this round, hitting it up the middle.’ Next one, one-hopper off the screen. Gaylord doesn’t say a word. They’re teammates.

“The next pitch Gaylord throws right at Buddy’s head, with a little something on it. Buddy goes down, gets his helmet, gets back up in the box. You think it’s the end of it. Gaylord now throws another pitch, and Buddy throws his bat at the screen. He doesn’t even try to hit the ball—he throws the bat at him.

“Gaylord comes from behind the screen, Buddy steps out from the plate, and all the players are there to grab one or the other of them to stop it. Nothing came of it, but those are the kinds of things where you just do what you have to do to say, ‘You’re going to respect me, and respect what I do.’ ”

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