Friday, May 13, 2011

Morning Baseball Reverie

Wednesday morning, before lunch, I took in a Durham Bulls baseball game. Yup, the only one they will play in the morning this year and it was cool, overcast but not rainy and before the humidity set in during the afternoon.

I like baseball because it is different than other spectator sports and entertainment options. It does seem unusual to go by yourself. You can find a seat with some elbow room and hear yourself think. The pace is such that you can tune in and out without feeling guilty, text, leave your seat without inconveniencing other spectators or distracting the performance and roam around the facility, shopping and eating and still catch most of the excitement.KerryReynGary and Jex

That morning game also transported me back more than 50 years to my first organized baseball games as a player. I was on a team with my two best friends, Gary and Kerry shown in the image with this blog (that’s me in the flattop sandwiched between Kerry on my right, Gary on my left with Jex, Kerry’s older brother on the end.)

We practiced in an empty lot. Gary’s dad Ed was the coach and got guaranteed laughs by frequently appearing to grab an imaginary fly out of the air, tossing it to the ground and stomping on it before he pitched, until one day his watch came off and he stomped on it by accident. Nobody laughed.

I think I played second base but I don’t really remember. I must have played catcher at one time because I wasn’t wearing a mask and got clobbered in the lip by the follow through of a mighty swing.

I was a pretty good hitter, mostly because my Dad had taught me to hit both right and left handed during hours of practice in the backyard after learning that I wasn’t a pure lefty and preferred to play sports right handed.

I remember how scruffy we all felt when we played the team in a small town settled by Germans and they had real uniforms and a grass field. The name of the town was a Native American term for “hole in the ground.” We beat them, twice, teaching us that looks aren’t everything.

I remember getting two home runs when we played the team in the tiny town where my dentist was located. Coincidentally, all of the fillings in my teeth were put in that year. I told my Dad at dinner that it was ten just to make sure he was impressed. He wasn’t and I got a lecture on boastfulness, humility, exaggeration and about everything else I think.

After more than three years of lessons, I had quit piano earlier that year to play on that team after my Mom caught me staring out the window when I was supposed to be practicing and gave me an ultimatum. I sure wish I had grasped the concept of being able to do both back then.

I wonder what Gary and Kerry are up to now in their 60s? Oh, and just so you know I didn’t daydream the entire game away on Wednesday morning. The Durham Bulls beat the Indianapolis Indians 1 to 0 on a home run once again by Justin Ruggiano, only instead of his fourth walk-off, it was a walk-on in the first inning.

I definitely think the Bulls should have more morning games each spring, after all, research shows that 70% of humans are most alert in the morning, only 10% are foggy until afternoon and 20% don’t come alive until after 6 p.m.!

Oh well, the next one I’m attending starts just 5 minutes after morning’s end and you don’t have to be too alert for reverie. One of the joys of retirement is a flexible schedule!

No comments: