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He grinned. Nobody seemed to get it. "Let's not be missing the steal sign. We're gonna run a lot this year cause we've got a running club. That right, Solly?"
Hemus nodded. "Whatever John says you can consider it came from me."
"Now, there's the squeeze," Keane went on. "We have just one squeeze play. Suicide! You gotta bunt the ball! So you gotta know the play's on, and we gotta know you know it. So, with a man on third base, I rub across the bird and touch my pants leg. One touch after the indicator! You're bunting! You answer me, telling me you got the sign by showing me the palm of your hand. Don't wave your hand at me. Pick up some dirt, look the other way and rub the back of your hand across your back pocket. Then I see your palm and I know you got the squeeze.
"Now I yell to the runner on third, 'Make the ball go through!' And that's the sign to him that he's going in on the next pitch. Get that, you runners? If the batter answers the sign by showing you the palm of his hand you still gotta wait for me to say, 'Make the ball go through!' "
Keane cupped his hands to his mouth as he described what he would do during a squeeze play. His fungo bat slipped to the floor. Its clatter echoed in the tense silence. The squeeze play commands breathless attention from ballplayers. Actually, major league clubs don't use it 20 times a year, and it works only half the time.
MARCH 25: Sal Maglie has gone down the drain. Some days I can remember clearly everything that happened. Some days in baseball are not easily forgotten. Some days I'm certain I'm not losing my memory at all, just some friends. Baseball friendships are mostly transient affairs; ballplayers come and go. You don't know from year to year whether you'll be congratulating a man for hitting a home run or knocking him down with a fast ball so he won't. In spring training you see them leaving every day.
This day is one I remember clearly. Pollet had decided to permit his pitchers to throw 75 pitches before he took them out. Maglie was the second pitcher of the day. The pitchers who weren't working in the game had to run for 30 minutes. By 12:30 one workout was over. The pitchers who weren't working staggered into the clubhouse and sat, sopping wet, in front of their lockers.
Maglie, sipping soup from a paper cup, sat on the rubbing table, agitating each player as he went by. "Atta way, boys, sweat it out," he said. "Best way to get in shape. Right, Doc?"
Doc Bauman laughed.
"How in hell you gonna get in shape then, Sal?" yelled Broglio, mopping his face with a towel.