Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton leads off for the West Division team by walking after working a 3-2 count. Pleskoff earlier identified the 22-year-old as the fastest player in the league, and it doesn't take long to see why. Hamilton gets a bad jump, Yankees catcher Austin Romine (age 23) throws a strike to second, and it still isn't close. Hamilton then steals third on a return throw from Romine to the pitcher. If you blink, you miss it. Romine blinked.
In his next trip to the plate, Hamilton strikes out looking at a 1-2 curveball. It's a seven-pitch at-bat mainly consisting of weak foul balls, which brings up a point Pleskoff made this morning: Hamilton has work to do from the left side of the plate.
The thing about Hamilton is that, until you see him, everything sounds like an urban legend. And it isn't just the speed. Make no mistake—he is crazy fast. But beyond that, he is in perpetual attack mode. He is always watching the pitcher and defense, looking for opportunities and weaknesses to exploit.
In the fifth, Hamilton drops a bunt. Astros first baseman Jonathan Singleton (age 21) fields the ball and launches it into right field, allowing Hamilton to reach third. Depending on which expert you believe on Twitter, his time from home to first is between 3.38 and 3.50 seconds. The guy sitting next to me has him at 3.50. We have no words for this, but just kind of giggle like schoolgirls.
Watching Hamilton glide around second is a treat. Again, it is difficult to speak of his feats without sounding like an idiot. The man does things that most people physically cannot do.