Like most of you, I was not exactly Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols in Little League. I spent a lot of time in right field; lemme tell you, you have lots of time to think out there in right field.
I also struck out a lot, and got hit by the pitch a lot (I was really small and pitchers had trouble throwing to me), and sat on the bench a lot while the “good” players played most of the game.
So yeah, except for postgame trips to Friendly’s for ice cream sundaes, Little League wasn’t always so much fun.
But Saturday I had a blast watching my nephew Benjamin, falling in love with the sport for the first time. He also played “right field,” but since these kids were 7 and 8 and it was a “coach pitch” league, right field was basically a deep second base.
He’s got a good eye at the plate, and seemed to really have fun while occasionally looking over at his mother and me and my Mom, making sure we were watching.
A few other musings from my first Little League experience in a while:
— Best part of this age group baseball is that the kids really don’t care so much who wins or loses. They go out, have fun, and five minutes after striking out they’re still pretty happy in the dugout. Despite losing 11-1, a kid on Ben’s team exclaimed “I can’t believe we got a run!”
— Apparently there’s a softer version of a real baseball that these kids were using. Man, wish we had that when I was playing, those bruises would’ve hurt a lot less.
— Most interesting thing that happened was the behavior of a kid on Ben’s team. This boy was clearly a player, fielding grounders well and totally on top of the fundamentals. Problem was, his teammates were, you know, little kids who were still learning.
After about the fifth error by another kid, Ben’s star teammate stomped off the field, threw his glove down and allegedly muttered “This team stinks.”
Thankfully, this brought a strong rebuke from said boy’s father, who said loudly “You want me to throw all this baseball stuff in the trash? That’s not how you behave!”
The boy didn’t play the rest of the day. Good to see.
–Few things funnier than a kid fielding a ground ball, not sure which base to throw to, so he just starts chasing the nearest runner or base to him. Parents yelling “Throw to first!” didn’t seem to have an effect. Pretty cute.
It really was a fun couple of hours, a brief reminder that pro athletes at their heart are really just little kids who never grew up and stopped playing.
** OK, I guarantee you that if you’re a kid like me who played Nintendo in the 1980s and ’90s, at one point or another when a game wasn’t working you took it out and blew on it, then put it back in and it worked.
Why did this work? I have no idea. How did anyone know to do this? Again, no idea. I probably heard it from a friend once and started doing it and it worked, and so I kept trying it.
But finally, the great people at Mental Floss (a really cool brain-teaser type website) have investigated the burning question: Did blowing on games really work?
Seriously, this article is fantastic. If you don’t want to click, they talk to scientists and say no, actually, all our blowing didn’t do anything. But check out why…
**Finally, you know how much I love newspaper and magazine corrections. This beauty was in Vogue this month; apparently they called an assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department an “interior designer.” Love it!