Whiff. That’s the sound of my son swinging at a pitch so far outside that it’s in the next zip code. I sit silently, non-reactive, my eye roll concealed behind dark sunglasses. “Got some rust on him” my husband whispered. My non-response speaks volumes. When he’s behind the plate at catcher in the spring, runners stay glued to their bases for fear of being picked off. They know him.Seeing balls slide past him today, they take off running, almost in mockery.
This is known as “Fall Ball” but it’s hot. It’s not just hot. It’s “Baltimore hot”: a searing, blistering, sweltering, unrelenting sauna. I have taken to sitting in the shade of a tree just to stay alive. Plus, I am out of water. No. I would rather die of thirst than drink that terrifying electric blue industrial waste called “Gatorade.”
In the middle of the game the catcher from the opposing team inexplicably called time, stood up and went into the dugout.
“He was thirsty.”someone said. Thirsty? Since when do catchers stop a game because they are “thirsty.”?
Realizing that by leaving the field he was no longer eligible to return as catcher, his coach sent him to right field where oddly, he sat down on the grass. No, that’s OK. Don’t get up. The other seventeen players and their parents will just wait until you decide to stand up.
Now I understand that this is fall ball. That time of year when only the die-hard ballplayers trying to squeeze those last few innings out of summer remain. It is designed to be “instructional” and less competitive than the spring season.
But the egregious lapses of decorum and basic baseball etiquette are just painful for any self-respecting baseball fan to watch. (Hey first baseman, can you tuck in your shirt).
Maybe it is too much. The heat, the fact that school has just started, the prior months of baseball saturation. But these players are here by their own free will and alleged interest in working on improving their baseball skills.
“Goooooo tooooooooo DA BAAAAAYSSS BALL!!!!” the opposing team’s coach yelled in a thick Baltimore accent.
“Oh, listen to him.” a mom behind me said, whipping out the most worn cliche in all of baseball parent-dom “Doesn’t he know this is just a game?” He knows. He, like me, just wants them to play it right. Even though it is only fall ball.