Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kid Pitch

I grew up with a wax paper, Coca-Cola cup in my hand, hiney side in the red clay dirt at Goodwyn Ball Park in Montgomery, Alabama. Like literally - that's where a heaping portion of my youngest childhood memories are set. Playing in the dirt or mud (whichever it happened to be that particular day), buying Fun Dip and Slush Puppies from the concession stand, and sitting as close up to the fence as I could get right behind the batter's box calling strikes and balls in my head and comparing them to what the umpire said out loud. With two older brothers, that was my life. And it was so much fun.

I guess it was then that my love for baseball began. It deepened later in life in realized just how cute a boy's backside looked in baseball pants, especially if they were a catcher. I guess with all that up and down squatting and all, the catcher always had the nicest looking rear in the baseball pants. Granted that was at a time in my life that I still appreciated the taste of good Slush Puppy, but had traded playing in the dirt with watching the boy that made my insides swirl with delight compete on the field.

Now days, I don't make a habit of paying that much attention to the booties in the baseball pants I see on a regular basis. Most of them are under the age of ten, so that's neither appropriate or interesting to me. But I am more into the game since my little man has baseball pants of his own. He's been sporting the pants, pulled up to just below the knee and tucked into the socks pulled high, for four years now but is somehow just now finding himself playing real baseball. Kid pitch, leading off, stealing, baseball. And I love it...

Sunday, David and his Bandit friends played their first (and probably only) tournament of the fall. It was our kid pitch debut, and I was so excited to see how our boys could hold up. We've not practiced much since all but two of our boys play football. We've had two real practices - meaning the whole team, practicing all facets of the game. For the most part, we've met and done a little pitching and a little hitting, but not much full-field practice. We knew the odds of us coming out of this tournament victorious were slim to say the least. I think all the parents walked into it with an expectation of being beat. I considered it not-so-free, really organized practice.

We lost our first two games, the first one 8-4 and the second 10-6. Most runs as this level are scored by stealing, not actual hits of the ball. The pitchers' arms are erratic and unpredictable to say the least, so there's ample opportunity to advance once you've gotten on first base. Some people think it makes the game more boring, but to me it was more intense mainly because I honestly never knew what was possible once the ball left the pitcher's hand... could be a strike, a ball, a pitch right over the umpire's head, a stolen base or run, a batter whose elbow would be greatly bruised the following day from being hit with a pitch. The list could go on and on. And I never really knew what the players on the field would do, because, God love them, they've completely forgotten how to strategize the bases. We're trying to throw a runner out at second when there's one ready to steal home on third. Honestly, it's as though these kids have never played before.

Even though we lost the first two, we still showed well for ourselves. Most of our boys got a couple good hits during the day. The ordinary plays on the field looked good. It's just the mechanics and strategies behind all the other elements that have to be added in. In other words, once the days are warm enough in the spring, we will practicing baseball so much that even I will be able to try out for the major leagues.

We did pull a victory the third game, beating the poor little team we played 13-0. I was glad to end the day on a positive note for our boys' sake, because, bless them, they aren't accustomed to losing. And neither are the parents. But I felt so bad for the team we beat. They were just plain awful. Hate to sound ugly, but that's just the truth.

So, I got a little teaser of baseball. And I got to see my little man pitch for about half an inning. And, well... I thought I was about to barf the whole time he was on the mound. Don't know if I can handle him being out there or not. Luckily (for mama, anyway) I don't foresee David being one that pitches a whole lot unless something drastically changes. But we'll see. At least now I'm hoping I won't be eating nearly as much at the ball park because I'll be nervously fretting around most of the time or barfing on my shoes if David takes the mound.

Is it spring yet?

1 comment:

Erika said...

hmmmm, grown up boys in baseball pants. Now that's one spring, I would relive again. ha ha