Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Batter up

In case you didn't notice IT'S BASEBALL TIME AGAIN!! Not just any baseball but little league, instructional league baseball time. Last night was the 2nd practice session for my Grandson Sam's new team [we don't know the team name yet] and the coach is a friend of ours. Matter of fact, Tony is the Son-In-Law of my wife's 1st boyfriend so we are really tight? Tony has 5 kids of his own and really loves coaching and my favorite saying is, "God Bless the Coaches."

This is Sam's 2nd and last,instructional little league season,as next year he steps into big time, little league where parents get serious about their childrens future, as up and coming Johnny Damons and millions of dollars in salary. They start yelling at the umpires and each other. I just won't be as fun. I missed the 1st practice session last week and Sam managed to get hit in the mouth with an errant ball [no serious damage but some tears and a bit of a trophy as he shows you where his teeth went into his gum]. He is already into spitting again. Last year it took 6 months to break him from spitting, after the season was over. My wife and I arrived last night, as the boys were warming up, and the danger level was at its highest. There had to be 200 boys and coaches all over, all warming up at the same time. Trying to get to Sam's practice area, we had to go past another team that a father was hitting flyballs to. He had a glove in one hand, throwing the ball up and hitting it with the other hand, so you can imagine what his accuracy rate was. As we approached the back stop area for Sam's team, we had to walk in amongst the boys throwing balls to each other and even as we approached the safety of the backstop we now had to watch out for teams behind us practicing. A little nerve racking to say the least but we took our rightful, grandparents spots, unfolded our chairs and watched the circus appear in front of us. When we walked in we met our daughter walking out with the Golden Doodle on full restraint. He is still just a puppy [20 months] and all of these kids playing with all of these balls and no one playing with him. He was absolutely wild! In order to let you fully understand all of this and bring you up to date, I have included a posting from last year in April.
It's Baseball Season!! April 26th 2005
I had an interesting week when my wife and daughter headed for Ashville NC to the Billy Graham evangelical conference. We are Methodists but our church sent them as they figure it is something our church can use more of. They left Monday and came back Friday leaving me with my Grandson Sam for that amount of time also. Sam didn't have school this past week and I had to work. My wife is the Superintendent of the cemetery and I work for her so when she is gone, I also take over Superintendent duties. Needless to say, for an old man I was way over my head and there was nothing amusing about it. Sam is 8 and baseball little Leagues are in full swing so every chance we had we practiced in addition to the organized practiced sessions. Playing catch with him has taught me how to jump again. In normal life I don't have much occasion to jump except in such situations as jumping out of the way to saves my life from some wild, woman driver trying to multi-task by smoking a cigarette, talking on a cell phone and trying to negotiate the parking lot and position in the drive-up line, all at the same time. Happened twice this past week at McDonalds. The jumps with Sam are straight up in the air or madly to the side to keep the ball from rolling under a vehicle. He lacks a little in his ball throwing control. On our first practice day, I figured I could catch him bare handed because I'm good and he doesn't throw very hard. After 15 minutes I was looking for a glove. Dumb! This has been the first I have put on a glove in about 45 years and I have not forgot very much except the value of a good jock strap. 20 minutes into the third day and he threw me a hard grounder. The rest is history. No more kids for me. On our first practice session that I went to, with the team, the coach sent home a letter of regulations, rules and expectations. They were all to remember to bring a hat and gloves to each practice session and especially games. At the last session, 4 kids forgot to bring their gloves. They are not allowed to say "you suck" or they are sent home. One of the earlier practices, one of Sam's teammates repeatedly kicked a mother, from another team, in the shin and didn't even apologize. I'm not making this stuff up as it is verbatim from the coaches letter. He said jock straps are required and cups are recommended so we went out and bought Sam a jockstrap with a cup mounted into it. The thought of turning around in the seat and seeing him with the jockstrap around his head and the cup over his nose throws me into hysterics. Sam's 1st time at bat, that I saw, he hit it and ran to first after some difficulty locating the base. [I have since found out that the reason for that is that the boys all tend to kick dirt wherever they are and they dig such a deep hole that they have to move the bases out in the tall grass to keep the runners from breaking their legs and no one can find them. Yup, kicking dirt and spitting are big. Sam has now taken up chewing bubble gum] The next batter got a little hit and as it was rolling out to right field, Sam, who is now running from 1st to 2nd stops, picks up the ball and fires it to 2nd for an out.? Some of them can catch but not throw, some can throw and not catch and some can do neither. In their simulated practice games the pitcher pitches the ball and the catcher misses the ball and runs back to the back stop to get it and fires it back to the pitcher who doesn't catch it and being the 2nd and short stop are busy kicking dirt the ball rolls by them to the outfielder who picks it up and fires it back but once again 2nd and SS are kicking dirt so no one can catch it. It makes for long practices. I've noticed that, now one of the coaches is behind the catcher, with a glove on, calling balls and strikes and another one is out by centerfield to catch the balls that roll by everyone else. God bless the coaches. I can't wait for the 1st game. In our spare time we laid around watching the Red Sox kick butt on TV. After any type of practice Sam and I go to McDonalds for supper. Sam is in another growing streak and has moved passed the Kids Meals only so far as I have to buy the kids meal for the stupid toy and supplement this with extra hamburger or chicken. Meals tend to be quite expensive. Hopefully his new baseball spikes will last the season before he grows out of them. We managed to eat all of our meals out, for the week. This made for less dishes to wash on Friday but didn't help with the laundry and the overall dirt that had managed to accumulate in the week they were gone. Friday was a little bit tough as the plane landed at 11:00am. Oh and by the way we had to paint the master bedroom, lay new carpet and have a new bed installed [one of those numbers things]. It was a busy, hectic,week but Sam and I, two dogs and the guinea pig all managed to survive and be stronger for it. Overall it was a really cool guy's week.

Just in case you missed it, that picture is my grandson standing with the World's Champion Trophy, which the Red Sox won and Yes, it is the real trophy! Go Sox!

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