Not much happened here in January besides dodging the raindrops. Rain doesn’t matter much to me once we start walking, but those first few yards out the front door and into the wetness take a bit more coaxing, to put it mildly. Once I get out there, I can handle it, unless it’s a cold, heavy, horizontal rain. When that hits, I want to take care of business and get back home to chase Wiffie ASAP.
I’ve been using this quiet time to develop a new technique for my fetch repertoire. Mike calls it the neighborhood play. According to Wikipedia, in baseball, “a neighborhood play is a force play where a fielder receiving the ball in attempting to force out a runner at second base, catches and quickly throws the ball to first base in a double play attempt without actually touching second base, or by touching second base well before catching the ball.”
Nowadays, video replay has all but eliminated the neighborhood play in major-league games, but thankfully (and hopefully!) no surveillance cameras have been installed above Chloë’s Lane, my favorite field for fetch. Therefore, when I retrieve my purple-and-white ball and return it to the thrower, I don’t have to actually deliver it to their feet. If the ball is “in the neighborhood,” that should be close enough. At least, that’s the way I see it.
But it depends on who’s throwing, I guess. It’s usually close enough for Mike, who might even put his left hand in his treat pouch to get me to bring the ball another 5 feet. Heather, on the other hand, likes to be a hard-ass about it. She refuses to throw the ball again until she gets ball-to-toe delivery.
And here’s what my alleged best pal Charlie had to say when I tried out my neighborhood play on him.
That Charlie, he can be tough! He has obviously been in the game a long time and adheres to high standards. Personally, I like to cut corners as much as I can get away with.