Friday night's game against the Dodgers may appear on the surface to have been giftwrapped by Joe Torre and served to us on a silver platter by the Dodger players, but it was a textbook illustration of Soth Ball that Mike "The Soth" Scioscia has tailored an aggressive, pressuring basepath battle that is the death by a thousand cuts to many a baseball team's defense.
The Angels have been a bit flat of late and the absence of Chone Figgins has been no coincidence. In the ten games leading up to his injury, Figgy reached base at least once in every game. The Angels went 6-4. Without Figgins they were 5-6 with a flat offense before tonight's game.
Soth Ball demands a feisty leadoff hitter to create havoc and take advantage of the mildest miscue. Tonight, Maicer Izturis (himself a Disabled List resident until just recently) aptly illustrated how Soth Ball works - even when the sluggers are not slugging, getting on base, going first to third, throwing a Jedi-Mind-Trick on weak-minded sinkerball pitchers to aim below their catcher's crotch and hit the backstop - find the weakness, exploit the weakness, don't wait for a 3-run-homer, be the 3-Base-Headache and destroy that fundamental confidence in their own abilities.
The leadoff man doesn't just set the Soth Ball table, he runs around the dinner party drinking out of anyone's glass, using the wrong fork, licking the butterknife and beating the throw to the catcher on a weak grounder to a drawn-in infield. As a leadoff hitter, Figgy is integral to Soth Ball. Izzy showed he can get Figgy with it, as has Reggie Willits. Quite the opposite of the "Wait for the 3-Run Homer" approach, Soth Ball is NOT the proverbial "National League" offense that it is accused of being. Soth Ball goes beyond the nuances of productive outs and heads-up baserunning. At its finest, Soth Ball is a mind-f**k of an approach to offense. Maddening, disruptive and statistically unquantifiable, sliding hard into a catcher’s scrotum as he juggles the throw is the epitome of Soth Ball. Welcome back, Izzy Pop, thanks for playing hard. Thanks for playing Soth Ball.