“Line it up!,” and with those three simple words, it is over.
They have been out here since April 1st. Eight long months. It started as it always does. Awkward. Quirky. Rusty pitchers trying to throw from a frozen clay mound to catchers crouched against the chilly breeze on creaky knees. Those hard early spring baseballs slipping through the legs of the first baseman and sailing past the head of the third baseman. The usually feared hitters swinging violently through the air at missed pitches.
Then the sun came and the around-the-horn drill was clean, neat, 5-4-3 and back. Balls were hit and caught and thrown with ease and grace. They knew one another again. From there it became an unending blur of car trips and bags and water bottles and sunglasses and score books and sharp pencils and sweat and joy and tears.
Every day there has been a pair of mud-encrusted grey baseball pants on the floor of the laundry room. But today, I hesitated before I rinsed. This will be the last time for a long time. These pants probably won’t even fit him next year. Is there a way to – hold on to it? No.
One shot of Oxi Clean – and it’s gone. Until next spring.