Monday, May 6, 2013

Baseball, And All That Goes With It

You know spring in the Pacific Northwest.  It can be 70 degree one day and snowing the next.  We can forgive our pansies for being the least bit unsure of their welcome.  We watch the Iris shrivel in the cold.  The lawns get green, then brown, then green again, particularly after the irrigation kicks in.  But that doesn't stop our kids from playing hard in the cold and the wind.  

It's the season for baseball.

I have a baseball park in my neighborhood.  Actually four in a quarter-mile radius.  So may be my confusion about which park is which . . .  is not unreasonable.  I was to meet up with my  buddies at one of those parks.  Of course, I got the wrong park.  Three times.  It not like baseball parks are subtle.   

In my search,  I knew I was on the right track when I saw some baseball-looking legs poking out from beneath the fence.  Red.  The team I was looking for was wearing red uniforms.  Bingo.  The park has an old-fashioned feel, mismatched bleachers, small stands for hot dogs, Cokes, and pie, everybody crammed into a small space, an electronic scoreboard you can't read when the sun hits it just right.  It's a lovely evening.  So there's some sorta magic involved here.

We were there to watch Noah pitch.  He's a junior in the neighborhood high school, the son of good friends, and a tall, skinny kid.  He's got strength enough that the ball pops hard against the catcher's mitt.  He's good already, but not as good as he will be.  He has a high cool factor too, a stand-out in lots of ways.  

I sit and talk baseball with Larry, our expert and enthusiast.  He loves to explain why this kid bunted and that one fouled out, why the pitch went awry, and why baseball is so American.   I have a hot dog, and who wouldn't?  Tim, who can' sit still for any length of time, has a piece of apple pie while walking around.  Perfect. 

I lose my mind for a minute and use the word: Yipee.  As in, "Yay! Noah!  Good inning! Yipee!"

The local five-year-old is appalled.  He whispers to his brother. . . "She said, Yipee!"  Would that he be so sensitive to all the other words kids say to  each other on a baseball diamond. . .

I have grey/silver/brown hair that stands straight-up most of the time.  Straight-out too.  I'm in my sixties, perfect for "the eye."  You know the one I mean, the one with one cocked eyebrow, no lapse in eye-contact, no humor or forgiveness.  I make the best use of that. 

He's not entirely sure he's home free.  

Also perfect.