an old baseball memory

 

Taft golfingSorry. I don’t follow sports . I know , that’s somewhat un-American ; but , that’s the way it is .

There was a guy at my work years ago who knew that tidbit of information about me but he seemed to like me anyway . At some point we developed a sign-in routine each morning , and  when we’d see one another   I’d say , ” Hey , did you see that game last night ? ” .  He would , of course , answer in the affirmative  and we’d begin to throw around a few nutty statistics and mention rugby , jai alai , or lawn bowling , or horseshoes to awe and bewilder our colleagues . Some of them eventually caught on to the joke , and others are probably still wondering after all of these years about those two guys who followed those particular sports so closely  .

I played baseball as a kid , though . I played some games as an adult , too , usually on the 4th of July . I might still play if a game came up and needed another player , but that hasn’t happened lately .

Take me out to the ballgame .- Tony Martin

Put me in , Coach , I’m ready to play ! Centerfield –John Fogarty .

When I was a kid I played little league baseball . I liked baseball . But , one year , I sat most of the year on the bench . The coach’s son pitched every game and his friends played every inning of every game . Another kid and I were not part of that group , and so we sat on the bench game after game . This was the coach’s fault , of course .

When baseball is no longer fun , then it’s no longer a game .     Joe Di Maggio

So , my friend Bobby D. and I sat out most games . If the team was far enough ahead or too far behind by the eighth or ninth inning , then the coach would put us in , or put one of us  in . Usually I’d hang out in right field during the last inning of the game hoping that I might have a chance to get up to bat before the game ended . Sometimes I did get to bat ; sometimes I didn’t .

Baseball is 90 % mental , and the other half is physical.     Yogi Berra

In the middle of the season I decided to skip a game . I was finally fed up and I had by then  had enough .

The phone rang shortly before game time , though . The assistant coach told me that the teams  were on the field but our team was short one player . He told me that it would be my fault if the team  had to forfeit the game and that I should  get over to the park right now . I told him that I had decided to skip the game because I always ended up just sitting out the games  . He assured me that I would play this entire game because I was needed to fill out the roster because they were short one player without me .

Against my better 10 year- old’s judgement , I hopped on my bike and rode as fast as that bike would go over to the park .  By the time I arrived there fifteen minutes or so later another boy , one of the regulars , had arrived.  He took his position on the field . Need I say more ? Again I ended up on the bench and I sat there for the entire game . Thanks , Coach !

Then came the final game of the season .

This final game wasn’t going to decide the season for that team one way another , so the coach let Bobby and I play . Well , I’m not sure that Bobby D. had hung in there as long as I had or that he was even there for that last game . Hopefully Bobby had more sense and self-awareness than I had and had bailed on the team before that . Maybe he wasn’t even there that day . I’m not sure about that , now that I think of it . Good for you , Bobby , if you weren’t !

To make a long story short , I got up to bat four times during the game . I hit a home run , two triples , and a double . When I threw the ball in to the catcher during beginning warm-up from deep left field I could see that the ball had stung his hand when he caught it . ( I had a good throwing arm in those days . Not no more ! )   My throw had come in low right over home plate , too . The coach was standing next to the catcher when the boy took off his glove and waved his stinging hand in the air .

 

After the game I went to the restroom and when I was walking back to the diamond to pick up my stuff the coach approached me . He put his arm on my shoulders  and complimented my performance during the game .

” Next year , I’m going to put you in first string , ” he said .

” Why would I play on your team next year ? ” I said . ” I sat on the bench all year , ” I said . I looked him in the eye when I said it .  I hope that I did , anyhow .  ” I’m switching teams next year .”

I put a season’s-worth of suppressed anger and humiliation into that statement .  The coach seemed surprised . My declaration  may not have done that heartless s.o.b. coach any good ; but it sure  did me some good , and it still does when I think back on it .

To succeed in life you need three things : a wishbone , a backbone , and a funny-bone .   Reba McEntire

I always wanted to be somebody , but now I realize that I should’ve been more specific .     Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “an old baseball memory

  1. Good for you. That guy sounds like a jackass. My dad coached little league and he played all the guys. He tore into a couple of parents who wanted their kid to get more time. He was more fun to watch than the call game on some days.

  2. When I worked for the phone company, I was in constant eye-roll mode as the guys fulfilled the ritual morning obligation of replaying the game from the night before. I didn’t get it then. I don’t get it now. I don’t imagine I ever will. What the heck is the big deal?

    Great post and terrific quotes.

    • Well , Maggie , I’d like to explain it to you , but I have long since sworn off the stuff . It does fill a lot of a person’s time though , doesn’t it ?

  3. I had similar sports experiences growing up. My greatest “sports achievement” was learning to show up and speak up. Yeah I was a lot older than 10 when I figured that out. I was a soccer coach for one of my daughters and I made certain that everyone played, and also that the star player had the same amount of bench time as others. Her Dad was upset about that at first, and when I reminded him we were a team, he relaxed.
    Vincent

    • Good for you . That’s the way it should be , of course . I coached only once — a girl’s softball team . Man , that was a disaster , but I did my best .

  4. Pingback: Wide World of Sports – The Zombies Ate My Brains

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