Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame.....

The picture is of Seth, one of our Indianapolis grandchildren. It was taken a few years ago when he was involved with community baseball and he was good, Today, he is a tall, gangly, good natured high schooler with an almost 3.9 grade level and too much school work to be involved with a lot of sports, and besides, he is getting to be a really big computer addict. But we remember his baseball days with a cheer or three.

When I was in grade school, we'd play a form of baseball during lunch hour. It was a steep uphill run from home base to first, and equally steep run downhill from third to home plate. I guess one evened the other out but it WAS a challenge for a slow person to make it to first. If the ball was hit over the fence it was an out (not a home run), but if the ball was hit into the outhouse enclosures it was an automatic double.

I was manager of my high school baseball team - at least for a while. As manager I kept scoring records - that is, until I made a mistake on the score sheets which made the other team the winner. I was angry but nowhere near as angry as some of the players and our coach who suggested I'd better go to a refresher math class before I would keep score again.

My first major league experience was a game at Yankee Stadium where the Yanks were playing the Cleveland Indians. The only things I remember was the size of the stadium and that Cleveland's ace Bob Feller was pitching. I think the unthinkable
happened - the Yankees lost. Beyond that, I remember little about who composed the teams other than Feller.

But one of my best baseball memories was of the community games in the flatlands downhill from where we lived. Several teams came together in a league of sorts and the games had almost more thrills than in major league baseball. Unlike high paid major leage players, our community league players did it for the fun of the game. There was no backstop so occasionally baseballs missed by the catcher would end up in the creek behind home plate. Since it was a cow pasture, There were moments when players would slide into what they presumed were base pads only to discover that it was, instead, a prominent slimy, smelly, souvenir of a cow. We watched the game from outfield since there was no viewing area behind the plate and occasionally a spectator would catch a long fly ball which always caused a major league discussion as to whether the catch was legal, and the person who caught the ball like as not was recruited to be on the team.

There are lot of good memories in baseball but it doesn't seem the same. Todays bases are clearly marked, the basepaths nicely raked, there are backstops and there are some girl teams that play a really good ball game. And so the game goes on but in some ways it not quite the same as cow pasture baseball. Some things may be gone but they are not forgotten.

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