It is a dance both proverbial and physical: the jiggle of excitement felt by players, coaches, and spectators alike when a baseball has been made “live” and has not yet come to rest in a “dead” state. The Jiggle acknowledges the moment when something is happening and, simultaneously, that a number of other things — some good, some bad, some neutral — may yet still happen.
As spectators, we might clench our teeth, or have the sensation of going deaf. The more consistently-inebriated among us might shart or pee a little. As for the players, who must be in a ready state both physically and mentally and upon whom many eyes and cameras are fixed in these moments, their enactment of the Great Baseballing Jiggle — a microcosm of the Great & Stupid Jiggle of the Human Condition — is often more obvious.
Such was the case with young David Wright last night. With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning, bases loaded and two outs, Wright was less than 90 feet away from scoring the winning run for the Mets. Heath Bell threw a 1-2 pitch in the dirt, and Wright was ready to make a break for home, until it was clear that Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero had made a pretty nice block.
At that point, Wright became visibly aware that his anticipatory Jiggle was for naught.
Wright would smile after the dust had settled, perhaps in acknowledgement of the nice play by Montero, but more likely in a moment of self-awareness: he knew that this particular Jiggle of his had betrayed his over-eagerness, his vulnerability. He might have been thrown out, or even worse: he might have looked silly.
The Moment of the Jiggle — what the Germans call Wackelnsieminute — is that moment before we are aware of ourselves in a situation; it is a split second, at least, before even the most self-aware among us can begin to watch ourselves in the moment and either gain the composure to guide our actions, or be crippled by that same self-awareness. The Jiggle can last only so long. Too soon, we realize how uncertain we are of what we are for.
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