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Hot Corner: Baseball Terminology

The hot corner is a baseball term that is accurate as Greg Maddux painting the corners of a strike zone. Except it has nothing to do with pitching.

Third base is where the hot corner is actually located. Any spot on the field can be littered with hard hit balls off the bat, but third base is where those balls end up the fastest. It is no surprise that the best defensive third basemen have some of the quickest reflexes to be able to react and make web gem after web gem.

Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, and Kris Bryant are some of the best young third basemen in the game today. Aged vets that set the defensive bar high include Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Scott Rolen, and Brooks Robinson, the Human Vacuum Cleaner. All of these players could withstand the likes of Jeff Bagwell or Gary Sheffield turning on an inside fastball and smoking a line drive down the third base line.

There have been players over the years that ended up moving from shortstop to third base because of declining athleticism or a logjam of talent up the middle. Make no mistake, a third basemen might not flip a ball behind his back for a double play, but he better have better hands than Quick Draw McGraw if he wants to survive the hot corner.

Not every ball is smoked off the bat, but the ones that are can be daunting just to watch. One benefit of fielding such a hard hit ball is that a fielder has more time to gather his wits and make a throw once he has the ball. However, it is a wonder that more third basemen don’t have special endorsement deals with protective cup manufacturers; it can provide a sense of courage to get in front of balls that are faster than Superman.

I could go on and on with metaphors and analogies for the hot corner. The moral is that third base can get heated when balls are hit there. Bend at the knees. Get the glove down. Watch your lips. And don’t blink.

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