Monday, August 01, 2005

Baseball Diaries

“Jake, pick a toy … we gotta get going.”

Jake, with two toys in eyesight, starts the decision mechanism: “eenie, meenie, miny, moe, catch a tiger by the toe, if he hollers make him pay fifty dollars every day.” He knows that is what you are supposed to say to make a decision, but he hasn’t grasped the idea of shifting his gaze from one toy to the other with each new word, choosing the one he lands on with the last word. So he gets to the end, and there he is, still looking at the two toys, no closer to a decision. He pauses, wheels turning in his head, and then affirmatively grabs and lifts the toy of choice.

The rule against bringing toys with them in the new car did not last long, and so a critical mass of toys lays strewn across the seats and floor of the two back rows of seats. But sometimes the toys include the baseball gloves, as the twins have been playing their first season of T-ball for the Rangers in the Babe Ruth league of Arlington. Coach Cody rotates the guys positions in the field each inning, so the twins are playing every position, although most of the action involves the pitcher and the first baseman. At the plate, Billy swings from the left and Joey from the right, each connecting with the underhand pitches about 2 out of every three at bats; 3 misses of the pitches, and you resort to the tee.

Aside from a small bump in the road in Game 1, when Joey got tagged out at home, and was unable to restrain the tears, it’s been nothing but smiles and fun. Every kid bats in the inning, and batters usually advance one base at a time, but when the last batter steps to the plate, we just have him clear the bases. Joey, as the last batter, got tagged out going home, the first to be tagged out on the team. There was a brief moment of pause, and then the tears, and then the constant exhortation from dad to get back on the field. He didn’t go back willingly, but he did go back. We explained to him later that that was part of the game, and nothing to be upset about, and he’s been great ever since. Later, he remarked how fast he was, but that the guy who tagged him out was really fast – which wasn’t really true, the kid was more or less sitting there waiting for Joey to come home, but it was cute.

Billy, on the other hand, is all about keeping score. He’s a bit of a logician, in that rather than counting runs scored by the teams, he takes the easier route of counting the number of guys tagged out. Except he usually only notices when his own team tags out the opposition. Playing pitcher in the last inning of the first game, he talked trash the whole time. He appears to have all of the qualities that lead to success in business – he totally overestimates his abilities, remembering only his successes, and speaks with a degree of self-assurance that will allow him to skate through business meetings having everyone in the room ready to hitch their wagon to him because a guy that self-assured must be self-assured for good reason. Only thing is – he won’t have to be a businessman. Why not? At the tender age of five, he pulled off an unassisted double play, which is only half the story – he did it from right field. I already have a binding contract with him specifying me as his agent – I get one-third percent.


Anonymous Jim O said...

Ya know, you WERE on the short list for people to consult if I ever won the lottery, you being an Economics PhD and all, but now you are firmly off the list.

One-third of one percent? What kind of business accumen is that? Don't you know that you are supposed to chain him into a binding 60% contract and then, when he sues you to be free of the slavery contract, you are supposed to go on all of the talk shows to "tell your side", and publicly beg him to call you, "just to talk"?

Haven't you learned anything from all those sports fathers? And you call yourself a businessman...

6:22 AM  
Blogger Clupbert said...

Have him read about the latest member of the 3,000 hit club, Rafael Palmeiro, so he can some day be mired in the prestige that Rafi is in right now.

10:53 AM  
Blogger pbryon said...

And to think that I thought playing every position in a game was left to the greats like Bert Campanaris, Cesar Tovar, and Scot Sheldon.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billy Hatch
The Hatcher
Same person

9:50 AM  

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