“Chicks dig the long ball,” someone said back in the ‘90s. Well, I know a “chick” who digs the triple—my special gal (and wife), Bobbie (a k a Bob). For good reason: the home run is the end of action, even with men on base. The triple is the start of all sorts of action, especially with men on base.
Say there’s a man on first. The batter slams a line drive that skips toward the right-field corner. Instantly, every player on the field is put in motion. The base runner and the batter take off; the right fielder races to the corner; the center fielder moves toward the corner in case the ball caroms past the right fielder.
Meanwhile, the catcher flips his mask aside in preparation for a play at the plate; the pitcher runs into foul territory to back up the catcher; the second baseman and first baseman line up to take a throw from right; the shortstop scurries over to cover second; the third baseman prepares for a play at third; the left fielder moves in to back up third base in case an errant throw rolls to the left-field sidewall.
As the lead runner rounds second for third, the batter-runner takes a wide turn around first and races toward second; he looks quickly to his left for a sign from the third-base coach—it’s a GO!—so he churns around second as the second baseman takes the throw from right field.
The lead runner scores easily; the play will be at third. The batter, his heart pounding with anticipation, sprints toward third base and slides in as the throw hits the glove of the third baseman—SAFE! It’s a triple! Even if he’s out, we’ve seen a sterling defensive play. A home run? Ho hum.