Children – Gotta Love ‘em!
A little boy perhaps three and one half is in the mall with his folks.
They are talking to the sales kid in one of the cellular telephone kiosks. The
little lad is standing next to the giant full color lighted photograph of two
shiny new cell phones shown about three feet tall – larger than the lad! His
nose is about five inches from the picture, and he’s carefully placing his
tiny index finger on each button on each phone, and pressing it as if it were
real. At each one, without regard for who may or may not hear him, he utters a
little chuckle and flashes a little guy smile! You can never forget something
Kids sometimes know baseball, too! There was a little girl about eight
years old with curly locks bouncing under her baseball cap, slowly and carefully
making her way down the steps of the ballpark, close to the first base corner
position. You could see her dad up a few rows closely watching her. When she
finally got to the railing, she could see the ball-boy in position for shagging
fouls. He had been collecting the wayward baseballs, and tossing them up into
the crowd. As she reached the end of her little journey, the little cutey turned
around to wave to dad; that’s when you noticed she had a fielder’s mitt half
as big as she was on one hand. She leaned over the railing and called to the
ball-shagger, “Can you please get me one of those, mister?” He smiled and
nodded. She grinned, then waited patiently.
The very next pitch, the batter lined a ball directly to the place the
little girl was standing. She instantly put that oversized baseball glove up to
protect herself from sure disaster. The ball found her glove with such force
that the mitt snapped closed around it! It got really quiet for a second or two.
She straightened up, the crowd holding its collective breath. She looked into
the glove as the whole stadium watched, and saw the baseball. Triumphantly, she
raised her other fist and hollered, “He’s out!” Then she looked back at
the ball-boy and said, “Never mind. Thank you!” She carefully climbed the
steps grinning, all the way to where her folks were sitting, the ball still
proudly clasped in her mitt! Everybody applauded!
Other kids don’t know a thing about the game! One of the parks has an
outfield fence, and about five feet behind it, there is a three or four story
tall chain-link safety fence. Back of that is a play-land park for the little
ones. The perimeters of the area have elevated seats for the parents. They can
watch the kids and watch the game from there as well! Good plan!
A long hard hit home run drove a ball smashing against the screen,
startling the children in the play area. One kid, not the least bit interested
in the baseball game, looked at Mom and Dad in the nearby seat, hollered,
“What the heck was that?” and immediately went back to play, not waiting for
When I was a kid, I never learned baseball. Never played the game at all,
never was coached or taught the game at all, and cannot remember ever swinging a
bat! I told you earlier about the Lakewood Little League where they were so
desperate for Coaches that when I brought in a sponsor for our boy’s team, I
was pressed into service as a manager. I enlisted a relative who played adult
league ball as a coach. His schedule changed after one practice, and he never
came back. I “coached” the team without the advantage of knowing a damned
thing about the game. I even umpired, carrying a white cane, of course. My wife
had to bat the fielding drills because I couldn’t hit the ball after I tossed
it up! It was sad.
We won one game of an 18 game schedule that first season. The following
year I had two other fellows helping me, and with three coaches, we won three
games! Ahah! A plan unfolds! Next year, we’ll have 18 coaches! Alas, I was
transferred before I could test the theory. I won’t even tell you about the
draft held the second year… I was an expert at picking talent! Yah, right!
My son Joe was on the team that first year. He was maybe nine at the
time, and knew exponentially more about the national sport than I did. I had him
start at catcher, then moved him to third, then center field when I saw the
other team starting to hit. Finally, as our pitcher started tossing the ball
over the backstop, I called Joey in and told him he was going to pitch. He
looked at me, glared, and said, “D
Years later, Joe’s eldest son Jeremy was introduced to baseball at the
T-Ball level. Jeremy, a truly amazing artist at his young age, even then was
drawing what he experienced. He was up to stick men whose arms were the correct
shapes at that time. He sat in our living room one day, and drew with colored
pencils on typewriter paper.
In the foreground there was a bright red stickman holding a baseball bat.
It had a prominent number on the shirt. Further back a blue stickman smaller
with a mitt. And at the edge of the drawing a baseball with speed streaks
flowing from it. He explained, “This is me in my red uniform and my number 16.
And this is my homerun going out of the park, Grampy.” Cool, and what is this
back there, Jer? “That’s the other guys. He’s blue!” Works for me!
Kids also have a way of remembering things when you least expect them to
do so. Our youngest grandson, Logan, lives several hours away. When he came to
visit for a few days when he was not quite two, he discovered my bass guitar in
its stand next to my big chair. I saw him coming and reached around and turned
on the practice amplifier. When he plucked the string, a loud, deep, musical
tone filled the room. He looked at me with an inquisitive half grin, and said,
“What’s that?” I said, “That’s a sound!” He plunked a few
more strings, each time saying “That’s a sound!”
For months after he returned to the
A year and a half later