It hit me yesterday why baseball truly is a special game and yes allows me to “get my kid on again.” Think about this and YES this message is for the pros too…you are playing a GAME. Yes there are consequences and paychecks to be earned but it is a GAME! Enough said for now.
I was checking out Mandy Bell’s story on MLB.com about Tyler Naquin rousting his neighbors by throwing a baseball against a wall on the top floor of his parking garage. He wants to stay loose but come on…the feel of the leather on one hand and the ball in the other takes you back to being a kid! C’mon! Most of us played wiffle ball as kids in urban backyards. I honed my true wiffle skills at 3990 JoAnn Drive in the Lee Harvard neighborhood in a yard that was 30’ x 30’ tops. There was a cyclone fence to the north between our yard and the Uleszewski’s house, a garage to the west, our house to the east and the street to the south as we lived on a corner lot. IF you cleared the garage (HOME RUN) there was a good chance the ball landed in the Alesci’s yard which was an out and loss of ball due to Mrs. Alesci until my Dad came home, assured her that kids running on her lawn to get a ball would not kill the grass, and he would come back with it. Please note we had ONE wiffle ball and bat between 7-8 of us on the street. One other nuance of the game was “pegging a guy” to get them out. YES you could throw the ball at someone running the bases and if you hit them they were out. I must confess if someone had shown you up in the game or you got jobbed “doing the dozens” you had a bit more zip on your peg!
Now baseball in the street was different but we played with a hard ball and since we only had one it was usually wrapped in black electricians tape. All was good until it rolled into a storm sewer where once again we waited for Max Bishop (aka Dad) to come from work, take the grate off the sewer, lower me down into the sewer by my ankles and I would retrieve the ball.
Let’s take it a step further to the school or bus garage where we drew a box with chalk and 2 to 4 people played with a tennis ball (we would usually snatch an extra one from the woods by the courts in the playground after an errant serve). Yup the box was the strike zone – in it a strike of you did not swing and out of it a ball. Speaking of school the Golden Knights baseball little league had 2 fields there! If you for there early enough you played for hours even with 12-14 guys. Remember right field was an out and pitchers mound was also first base for throws.
Truly gotta shout out MANDY for her story and Tyler for keeping the dream alive! Hey Tyler…you do not live that far away…stop by for some long toss any time or wiffle ball HOME RUN DERBY! That’s another story. Now you see why I say “baseball is a like an old bud…a dear friend…it is a SPECIAL game!