Baseball!! The greatest of all sports. As a young lad, I remember rising up at the dawns early light, mounting my trusty banana bike, and spending most of the morning gathering the gang for a baseball game over at the Crescendoe Road sand lot across from my house.
I do want to clarify that the following series of events occurred back in the day when all of the baseball bats were wood, all the baseballs were covered with shit, all of the baseball gloves were hand me downs, and all of the bases amounted to a dirt spot with a nebulous perimeter.
I don’t remember any involvement with organized baseball, little league, t-ball, baseball helmets, or mooshy baseballs that wouldn’t dent your dome. I do remember getting boinked with a baseball at least eleventy four times while I learned to catch it with a crappy hand me down leather mitt. No one was eased into baseball with smiling coaches and plastic tees, it was a basic survival skill that we all learned.
One incident that stands out in my memory involved a near death experience. I was pitching a game at the sandlot and Big Joe Torre was at the plate. Now the word “Big” hardly describes Joe, as he was about the size of a small car. As the first pitch left my hand and headed towards the bat of Big Joe, I realized that I might be a leeeetle too close to big Joe. This proved to be the fact as he connected and sent the ball back at my head at just below warp factor 3. Now this is the most amazing thing, the big guy upstairs intervened and somehow placed my glove directly in the space between Big Joe’s speeding ball and my head. I caught the ball and was greeted by a roar of approval from my team mates.
I still have flashbacks to the moment, and realize that, but for the grace of God, I might not be typing these pithy comments and all would be lost. I might have been stuck in a nursing home with a drool bucket, humming the theme to Captain Kangaroo.
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