Saturday, May 10, 2008


Finally it felt like baseball. The teams gathered on Friday night, ours and one from a neighboring league. We introduced ourselves to the other coaches.

"We're a little short on pitchers," said the other team's head coach. "We're missing a couple kids too. Do you mind if we play in some younger brothers?"

"We've got a sick player. He might puke on you," said Coach P. "If you can live with that, we're good." He looked over to the dugout where a mom was helping her son find his equipment. "Hey," he said. "No parents in the dugout!"

She scurried out.

"I'm just kidding," he said.

She scurried back in and gave her son a kiss on the cheek. The rest of the boys whooped and cheered.

We started strong, two shut out innings. By the fourth we had a good lead. Most games end by dark, but interleague play buys us lights and extra time.

My son had invited friends and they'd come with their parents, who were cheering when they weren't talking with friends they hadn't seen since fall. The concession stand was open and people were buying popcorn and hot dogs and soda and finally it felt like baseball.

Coach P. and I watched the game and for the first time we looked like a team. At second base a boy who'd been an object of concern hustled out for the cutout. Another kid, who'd been throwing rainbows all season gunned one from third base to catch a batter by a step.

"I've been watching him tonight. Got to say it surprised the hell out of me," said the opposing coach.

"Surprised the hell out of all of us," I said.

Going into the last inning we were up by four runs. Not bad, but even with the five run rule, not necessarily enough. First batter, a hard ground ball to shortstop, my kid knocks it down, crawls after it, and throws it from his knees to Coach P.'s boy at first, just in time to get the out. Two more outs, and we'd won another game.

My son came off the field. "I fielded that off my nut cup," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"It bounced off my nut cup and then it hit me in the chest."

"You're a moron," I said, but his teammates were slapping him on the back and he wasn't listening to me anymore.

After we shook hands and had snacks and drinks, Coach P. and I took our kids to a local bar for something to eat, and for me at least, something to drink.

The waitress stopped by to take our order and we told her about the game and finally it felt like baseball.


Adorable Girlfriend said...

Nut cup? I don't want to know where he learned that!

Happy Mother's Day to Mrs. Snag, btw.