Monday, March 25, 2013

Baseball for the Bored

“Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.”
― Leo Durocher

It's baseball season.  Yay.

Oh...did I seem underimpressed?  Let me pull out the pom poms and give a yell.  Yay.  OK, fine.  I understand baseball is the Great American Pastime and, once per year, I DO go to the stadium and buy hot dogs and beer.  Sure, I like to go on Thirsty Thursdays when the good beer is $1/pop.  But still.  I like the seventh inning stretch and I like the stupid infield games they play with the big inflatable sumo wrestler suits. I like baseball.  I really do.  Once per year in the big stadiums.  Once.

Thing 2 has loved baseball from the start

Unfortunately (did I say "unfortunately" out loud?), I have a son who plays baseball.  And THIS year, he's playing for real.  He wants no part of that namby-pamby Y ball where the coach is still pitching to the kids.  (Back story: He has the misfortune of an August birthday and an overzealous mom...he started school JUST after turning five so he's younger than ALL his friends.  THEY all moved up to coach pitch LAST year.)  He wants to play REAL BALL.  So, this year, he's playing real baseball with real kids throwing REALLY hard balls at his head, his knees and wherever else they can.

There are some things I've learned about REAL baseball for kids:

  1. These people are hardcore.  When the coach's son hurt his finger trying to catch a ball (he missed), one of the parents asked the kid if he was OK.  Before he could answer, the coach spoke up, without looking, "He's all right.  Shoulda caught the ball."  No, this is not Y baseball.  Last year, at the Y I watched a kid throw a SCREAMING FIT on second base because he was called "out" and refused to move from the base.  I watched as the mother went out and tried to REASON with this kid, offering him this and that to move off the base.  You could see the pleading look in her eyes as she appealed to other parents to "just let him play it out."  Are you KIDDING ME, LADY?  Although I am not a proponent of physical discipline, I would have yanked that kid off the base so fast his head would have spun around.  Hmm.  Maybe I do belong with the hardcore team, after all.
  2. The equipment is real.  And expensive.  I have paid out enough money this baseball season to feed an entire third world country for at least a year.  And I'm not finished yet.  I still have to get that face-cagey-thing that attaches to his helmet.  I found out that this is required because, well, the KIDS ARE PITCHING.  Wildly.  Thing 2, after crushing the side of a ball in the process of hitting it to the fence, was told he could use the bat he had used to crush said ball during the games.  When I asked the coach if I needed to buy that particular bat, he looked at me and shook his head (as if to say, "You silly know nothing about BASEBALL, do you?") and said, "Nah, you don't wanna get that bat.  That bat goes for about $300."  $300?   Are you HIGH?  You paid $300 for a bat for a TEN-YEAR-OLD?  Hardcore.
  3. Practices last even longer than the scheduled times.  In Y ball, those coaches were OUT of there.  In THIS league, the coaches stayed an extra half an hour one night JUST PITCHING BALLS TO THING 2.  AND, one of the coaches meets with a few of the kids for an extra hour just to teach the MECHANICS OF BATTING.  Who knew that you could minor in BATTING?  (Mom brag alert:  Overheard "This kid has the mechanics of a great to-the-fence hitter.")
  4. It really is harder for the kids to pitch to a lefty.  Thing 2 almost never gets a chance to even swing at a ball when the kids are pitching.  He watches them go by about three feet from the plate.  OR, he has to jump out of the way so they don't whack him in the shoulder.  As the tiny pitchers grow more and more frustrated that they can't seem to find his strike zone, the throws get even wilder. 
  5. There are no adult beverages NOR is there a seventh inning stretch. All of this hoopla is conducted without the benefit of a soothing (numbing) beverage.  And where's my music?  How horrified would my children be if I broke out into a chorus of "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLLLL GAME...?"  Kids baseball TOTALLY sucks all the fun out of real baseball.  
So, the season has begun.  Games begin soon.  My life will be fields and sky and sunburn for a couple of months.  I'll take some pictures of Thing 2 in action.  He's so looking forward to the season and, in spite of my dread, I sure do love seeing that little guy happy.

And maybe I'll look for that flask... 

How do YOU survive kids' sports? Helpful tips for me?


  1. You are so truly now removed from Y ball that you spelled "lefty" without one.

    Little league ain't what it used to be. Just like everything, the parents got too involved.

    1. See? I don't even know proper baseball SPELLING!! I will rectify immediately.

      Thanks, friend. (I just can't STOP!)

  2. In just a few years, they will be off to college, where they will meet two ladies named Kelly and Shannon. They will then cram 4 years of college into 6 years.