Angel on the Infield.

Everyone loves baseball, right? I hope so because that’s my theme for Day Eighteen of this assignment…A Series of Anecdotes.

The first one is taken from a chapter in my book, My Precious Life, where an eight-year-old boy is being berated by an irate parent who doesn’t like the way he is playing his position at second base. Her constant yelling and criticizing causes the player to hang his head in dejection. When a neighbor of mine gets to the game a little late and asks me where my son is playing, I answer loud enough for the woman to hear, “Second base. My son is playing second base.” With that the woman’s comments were silenced. The kid on second gained some confidence and the heckler hopefully gained some common sense.

The second story is about my stint at coaching a girls’ softball team. We were a pretty small team, in stature, but not in heart, and had a pretty good standing in the community league. What we lacked in size, we made up for in really fast base running. When the championship games came along the first team we were to play  looked like they had been raised on the Jolly Green Giant’s diet. They were big girls…I mean big girls. Our girls were mortified until I told them an old saying I had heard when I was their age. “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.” It was about tree cutting and how the biggest tree cut fell the hardest. For some reason it had stayed in my psyche and the girls loved it. They ran those bases so fast that the bigger team couldn’t keep up with where they were. We won not only that game but the championship as well and the girls learned to not judge by appearances. Bigger is not necessarily better.

The third anecdote is about a young ball player I know. He loves baseball to the nth degree but has a difficult time being the player he dreams of being; mainly due to his less than perfect batting skills…much less than perfect. Seeing the torment his son went through every time he muffed a turn at bat, Dad contemplated extra batting coaching. But he didn’t go that route. Being somewhat of a ball player himself, he took the teenager to a diamond in the park to practice. The balls were going nowhere and both father and son were frustrated. A stranger wandered onto the infield and offered some helpful hints to improve the boy’s stance and swing. Before long the balls were sailing over Dad’s head and his son was wearing a grin only an SOS scouring pad could remove. Would you believe the stranger was a retired professional ball player who just “happened by”? I truly believe he was an angel on the infield!

And then there was Blue Jay’s Jose Bautista’s famous…or infamous bat flip after his three-run home run hit against Texas on October 14, 2015.


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