email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Baseball

I love baseball.  I understand it.  You hit, field, catch, pitch.  You stand around and watch a lot. 

I tried other sports.  As soon as I reached minimal competence, I was bored.  In some I was simple unable. 

The minimal competence ones were tennis, golf, and soccer.  The unable ones were basketball, football, and rugby.  At 5' 7" and 135 pounds out of high school,  I was too short for basketball, too light for football, and I never figured out the "scrum" in rugby. 

I could play tennis a bit.  It was basically ping-pong on a larger field.  And the phy ed teacher had us doing some skill exercizes of bounces the ball first on one side of the racket then the other.  When he saw me bouncing the tennis ball on the edge of the racket, he dragged me off to more detailed play.  But I never could serve the ball hard or accurately, so off I went. 

Golf was similar.  I could hit the ball, and putt well enough, but I actually got worse the more THEY tried to teach me.  Went from a soft hook to a wicked slice under high school coach "help". 

But baseball always made sense to me.  And I mention all this only because I just finished re-watching Ken Burns' PBS Baseball series.

I started off bad! 
The pictures there are fake.  Well, "posed".  Truth be told, I kept my bat on my shoulder in play and the one time I recall swinging, I hit it just over 2nd base.  Dad cheered that I finally got a hit.  I usually got a walk though and was a demon on the base paths.  I stole 2nd base a lot.  But my team was so bad I seldom got any further. 

I was a good 2nd baseman.  I knew how to drop on any ball near me and get it to first base.

I even got an unassisted triple play once!  I jumped up high to catch a line drive,  touched 2nd base to catch the runner going to 3rd thinking it was a hit, and tagged the kid running from 1st to 2nd who also thought it had gone into the outfield.  My high point in little league.  Also my last year playing because the pitchers got much better and I couldn't even get walks.

And I tell you that to tell you THIS:

I got a lot better years later after college.  I had a temp Summer job with the navy and they had a softball team needing "anyone" and I became catcher.  Not much of a respected position in softball, but hey, I was on the team.  I there I was among big tall strong navy guys.

But I discovered I could hit the ball!  Pretty much anywhere I wanted...  I had completely changed from 12 to 22!  I became a fearless swinger.  My specialty was hitting between 1st and 2nd basemen, but when they shifted for that, I just hit between 3rd and shortstop.  And when they pulled the shortfielder (there were 10 players in that league), I just stepped into the plate and hit it over the right-fielder.  The right-fielder was always the worst player on any team...

What mattered to ME was that it DIDN'T matter that I was smaller than the navy guys because I could hit the ball wherever I needed to.

So all this is going through my mind while I watched 'Baseball' on DVD.  And there comes some celebrity saying that every fan thought they could do as well.  The difference in hitting between pros and "wannabees" was really only about 40'.

And then they showed close-ups of the pro hitters.  Their arms looked like my legs!  Only with more muscles.  LOL!

I'm sure glad I went to college and got a degree in something that demanded I "think" instead of "hit"...

To this day, I am "competent" at nearly anything sportswise, but not "good" at anything in particular.  And I'm satisfied with THAT!  So, don't worry, nothing profound here, I'm justunspooling some memories I guess.

You ever do that?


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