A golden lesson in a rough-cut diamond

Submitted by:
Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief


What can a 37-year-old journeyman baseball player teach law enforcers about “routine” events?

Yesterday, in the middle innings of an otherwise-meaningless spring training game, Marco Scutaro drew a two-out walk.


But things got interesting when he arrived at first and observed shortstop Gregorio Petit and second baseman Alexi Amarista not paying a whole lot of attention.

A sports talk radio guy I listen to described it as “two guys staring down at their shadows, spitting into their gloves.”

As soon Scutaro arrived at the first base bag, he beat feet to second and stole it easily.

I looked and looked, but couldn’t find video of yesterday’s play. Good thing Scutaro has been a smart ballplayer for a long time. I found footage of him doing the exact same thing in 2009 against the Phillies. Take a look...

We hear it all the time: “There’s no such thing as routine.”

But we all know that there are moments which are so frequently-repeated that they naturally lull a person into a false sense of security.

In every single profession there are certain things which happen — during which time, basically nothing happens. In baseball, there is probably nothing which better fist this description than when a pitcher issues a walk to a batter.


Then a veteran like Scutaro pulls a veteran move, and we all gasp, mouths agape, “WOW!” 

Happily, no baseball player’s life will be imperiled by a momentary lapse of focus. But we can look at this video, and while also being entertained by it — baseball is, after all, entertainment — we can be reminded of the deadly consequences for police officers for just one instant of “taking your eye off the ball.”

“Routine” should be considered a four-letter word.

Don’t go staring at your shadow and spitting in your glove, lest some veteran violator pull a quick one on you before you even look back up.

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Contact Doug Wyllie

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