Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Little League

Spring is here. I have always measured the seasons by the sports that are played, in New England it is to tough to go by the date or the actual weather, for me Spring starts when baseball is played. You get your first glimpse with the Red Sox in Florida, and then in the regular season but spring is really here when on a Saturday morning you drive by the local little league fields and see them swarming with kids. This past Saturday I made the mistake of going yard saling with my Fiancé and her father and spent close to four hours in the cars driving from house to house, viewing thousands of pieces of crap, but along the way we passed enough ball fields to assure me that spring had indeed spring.

It was on this car trip that I started reflect on my own little league career, like any red blooded American boy I went out for baseball as soon as I was old enough and rocked the tball league hard eventually becoming a tball all-star. Of course I was picked to be an all star because we drew straws and I was one of two players on the Comets to march in the parade and play in a contrived all star game at the Hannah school where coaches stood in the outfield with us to make sure we were paying attention and to protect us in case a ball was hit a little to hard. The ball of course was never hit to hard, I mean the outfielders played ten feet behind the infielders and there must have been 15 of us on the field at any given time, we were only 5 or 6 years old what do you expect we all thought we were Wade Boggs(without the mistress),Dwight Evans, and Marty Barrett.

Of course at some point the fun had to end, Tball is innocent, in Beverly though you lose that innocence and had to move up to the farm league. It was here that you had to hit live pitching, the coaches pitched the first half of the season and then split the games with actual kids pitching. This is when it gets scary, it's one thing when its your dad lobbing it over trying to hit your bat for you, but the kid on the mound is just trying to throw it towards the plate and missing most of the time. It was when I played for the Farm league Orioles that I banned my mother from the crowd. My dad was always one of my coaches and has a good understanding of the game but my mother always thought that the best part was stand up and cheer "Go Oreos" very embarassing. As for my innocence, baseball was not nearly as fun when you could get hit by a pitch, or when some little kid who swing wildly lets go of the bat and you get hit in the shins while standing at first base.

After those two seasons I dont remember all of my teams exactly I do remember a couple of the more interesting games though. Like the night when at the newly opening Harry Ball field I ran after a foul ball, slipped on the wet grass fell down and slammed into the fence sperating the field from the dugout and almost knocked myself cold. Or when as a budding statician I took my teams score book from my dad and computed all of our averages and told everyone what they were batting while my father looked like he was going to beat the crap out of me because little leage is supposed to be fun, and no one is supposed to know if they are good or bad. I think the best one was when I was playing at Obear park in Beverly and I hit one deep but not out and was chugging around the bases and ran through my dads signal at third and ended up flattening the kid playing catcher at home, causing an arguement with the other teams coach and the ump, and the coach getting kicked out the game. Or maybe the best is when I convinced my dad that I should be allowed to pitch, when I played for the yankees(what a traumatic name for a little league team I am glad to see that it has now been banned) and I pitched against the Astros. I only ptiched one inning I struck out one, walked 3 and hit one kid fairly hard who I later ended up being friends with and went to school with for 7 years. No wait I have the best, when I played Babe Ruth I was 14 years old, and I had to face convicted felon Andy Hall, the kid was a legend in Beverly little league baseball he threw hard, rumors flew around about how he had knocked a kid cold and carcked his batting helmet. But anyway I only faced him twice in my career and it was when he was a little older and was just plain wild at that point. Both times at the same result. I stole first base. That is right I am as slow as they come but both times I swung at awful pitches that skipped to the backstop and I took off to first base. I ended up getting picked off once and the other time he tried to pick me off and hit me, it almost makes me wish that I had jsut struck out.

So there are my memories of my Springs playing baseball, Play Ball.

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