Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame! Let's Play Two!

Finally, Opening Day. A perfect morning, a soft breeze, T-shirt weather at last. The kids wearing their new uniforms for the first time, still clean, not yet ripped and sorry-looking.

To celebrate, the volunteers put in a little extra effort. The players got announced one-by-one, running out and taking a spot along the baselines as their names and positions were read off over the PA system. As the national anthem played, they held their caps over their hearts, excited and scared to be the center of attention.

Then, game time. Our guys started a little slow, but so did the other team and we hung in there. Our big break came with the bases loaded and Slorn at the plate. He may be a goofball, but he's got a good eye and he managed to squeeze out a walk. When he got to first, I leaned over, knocked knucks with him, and said, "Way to go, bud. You just got the team's first RBI of the season." He looked slightly stunned for a moment. Then he grinned, said, "Cool," and looked towards second base with interest.

A couple of innings later, another one of our foundlings came up for his third at-bat. His prior ones had been three strikes up and down, ineffectual waves at pitches that weren't particularly close to the plate.

Again, an 0-2 count. Coach P. called time-out and waved him over. "Hey, what are you doing?"

The boy looked puzzled. "Not really sure, Coach."

"I can tell. Look, you've got two strikes and you need to protect the plate, but it's like batting practice. Just hit it."

"Okay, Coach."

Next pitch, he fouled off. The pitch after that he lined into the outfield for the hardest hit ball of the game, almost passing out with excitement when he reached first. So excited, in fact, that he couldn't hear me telling him to take two. So it goes.

And so it went. My youngest got a hit, preserving the two-year hitting streak that he believes puts him on par with DiMaggio. Good plays, bad plays, solid hits, strike-outs. Back and forth, until going into the last inning our team was down by five.

Now, at this level there's still a five-run rule, so the best we could do was even it up. We did, with P.'s son hitting a shot into right field to score three runners. If we could hold the other team scoreless, the game would end in a tie. If that's good enough for a Major League All Star game, it's good enough for us.

And there we were, a runner on third and needing one more out. Our pitcher delivered, the batter connected, and the ball lofted high over second base. The center fielder came after it, reached out his glove, and. . .

On a day like that, who cares?

9 comments:

Jennifer said...

Slorn rocks!

Chuckles said...

GOD DAMMIT I FUCKING CARE!

Did he/she catch it?

billy pilgrim said...

Nice job, Snag.

even the Tuckbag didn't get Chuckles that wound up.

I know what you mean though. It's watching the kids play when you realize it's all about the game.

That's why I don't get too excited about major league ball anymore. The salaries, the overpriced beer in overpriced stadiums named after corporate behemoths... there's too much baggage.

Jennifer said...

"That's why I don't get too excited about major league ball anymore. The salaries, the overpriced beer in overpriced stadiums named after corporate behemoths... there's too much baggage."

bp- I fully agree. I used to love baseball, but after the last huge strike, when the sky was not enough for either side, I lost my taste for it... at least the major leagues.

Snag said...

Settle down there, Chuckles, or I'll be showing up at your workplace screaming that you're threatening my team.

Perhaps I'll get to work on some alternate ending updates. Or perhaps I'll eat some pretzels.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Don't threaten our Chuckman. He might just mail piss to your office and give out your kids jersey #. (Though it would be stupid).

Chuckles said...

Isn't Snag's office his house? I don't want to get any further into this joke.

Elmo said...

Hell Yeah! Great game!

Alyson said...

This is great info to know.