Monday, February 20, 2012

Reporting Day for Pitchers and Catchers

February 20, 2012-

First day for pitchers and catchers and I am woefully out of shape.  My sciatica is a pain in the ass and I can't throw 'over the top' without a tingling all the way into my fingertips.

My last start was a disaster. 4 runs scored off me in the first inning, with a succession of bloops and seeing eye base hits.

I did throw a one hitter early in the season. And the scoring decision on that so called hit was definitely questionable.

But there is only one small problem. I haven't won a game in 47 years.

At a time in my life when I have difficulty remembering what I ate for breakfast (a banana, because I couldn't take my painkiller on an empty stomach), and can't recall the name of movies immediately upon exiting (I know I saw a film I enjoyed last Friday, but beyond that is a blank), I can tell you the first hit I got in our little league team's first practice 50 years ago (a double to right center), the pitcher (Bobby Chaderchian), and that my father (an assistant coach) later told me that Mr. Malzone (our manager) was very impressed. I can describe, with clarity, that before my first start as a 10 year old, I had to leave the field and go to my aunt and uncle's house to deal with a very nervous belly.

And I recall  Moose, Richardson, Boyer, Kubek, Lopez, Mantle, Maris, Berra, Howard, Ford, Arroyo, Tresh, Terry and almost the entire roster from the 1961 Yankee team as if they took the field this morning.

It is hard to fathom that  more than half a century has passed since I began my worship of the Mick. It is even harder to conceive that at this stage of existence, when I should know much better, I don't. I truly care what happens, and while I don't get up at 6:30 every morning and rush to find the results from the game the night before, that is only because I now check at 4:30 or 5AM when I find myself awake.

While I have had dalliances with the Giants (20 years a season ticket holder) and the Knicks (my wife still able to recall, with "Diner" like clarity, most of the 1976-77 roster that she would recite before our marriage), my devotion to Abner Doubleday's game has never wavered.

So today,  my commitment to everything baseball is renewed. My vows are silently spoken and I promise to love, honor and cherish until death do us part. Or at least until the first long losing streak, or the next Yankee-Red Sox game that lasts an interminable 4 hours plus. You see, even my devotion has its limits.

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