There's an old old paradox about sand. (You heard me.) Take one grain of sand, that's not a heap. Add another, that's not a heap. And so on. Adding just one grain never gets you a heap, but, presumably, eventually a bunch of sand is a heap. What seems like a simple continuum reemerges as a mysterious discontinuity.
One might think that walking, jogging, and running lie on a continuum, that there's a difference in degree, not in kind. But the sand paradox applies here too.
On Friday, Los Angeles Dodgers leftfielder Manny Ramirez proved both that there is an infinite, unbridgeable chasm between jogging, and running, and that if a man continues to put one foot in front of the other, a man can run.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Dodgers up 1-0, Manny Ramirez checked his swing, rolling a slow grounder to the right side of the infield. Arizona first baseman Tony Clark ranged to his right, and flipped to Randy Johnson covering. Too late. Manny legged out an infield single. That's right. Manny Ramirez legged out an infield single.
Yes, Manny really beat it out. He tore down that line like it was the Berlin wall. Like there were bulls after him. He hustled like it was 3 card monte. He hauled ass like an interstate sex trafficker.
I've never seen Manny Ramirez run so fast. Sprinting down that line, showing a lean physique in his tailored pants, he conclusively proved that there's a universe of difference between jogging and running, a cosmic gulf, an infinite divide, an unbridgeable chasm, a you-can't-get-there-from-here abyss that can be crossed simply by trying.
Manny, in Dodger blue, showed his true colors, on the other side of the country, a universe apart. The knees were strong and chipper, they made him go. He didn't just walk, or jog, and then go one step faster, and one step faster, and then one step faster. He ran. Like a ballplayer. He legged out an infield single in a one-run game.
Now, the universe being what it is, he wasn't rewarded for his act of apparent good faith. As the potential winning run at the plate with the tying run on first, down 2-1 in the 9th with former Sox closer Brandon Lyon on the hill, Manny bounced into a 6-4-3 double play. He was thrown out by just a step.
He almost made it. There's a universe in between out and safe, and Manny tried his hardest to cross that chasm.
How about that?