Game day!


I got to play a baseball game today.

Our season started two weeks ago -- my team lost the first game, and won last week -- but I hadn't been available to play until today. Sort of ...

We had an early game today, so I was at the ballpark by 8 this morning. I began stretching and loosening my arm. I was ready and eager ...

But a half hour before game time, Coach called me with the news of a family issue he had to take care of. He was putting me in charge of the managerial duties today. Great.

He stopped by the park to hand over the team equipment and left me to fill out the lineup card -- with 15 minutes to spare before our game against one of the best teams in the league.

When it was all over, we had lost 4-1. But I couldn't complain -- we'd fought hard, and our defense was as good as I've ever seen it ... We also had 15 guys in our dugout today -- which is unheard of. While everybody gets to bat, I played the unselfish card and didn't put myself in the field (no matter how badly I wanted to play a few innings at second base or in the outfield); and I didn't hear any compaints from the other guys who didn't get to play full games either -- which was a relief to me because that was the last thing I wanted to deal with today.

Garre made a couple real nice catches in the outfield. Ange made some tough plays at shortstop and Cal did a really nice job at first scooping a few balls out of the dirt. Our ace pitcher Jimmy pitched the complete game -- and knocked down a rocket that was hit right back at his head.

But we didn't hit. Our opponent was in striking distance the whole time. We had plenty of opportunities and we didn't hit ... Down 3-0 at that point, we scored our only run in the sixth when our catcher singled and then a pinch runner stole a couple bases and scored.

We notched just seven hits, and left eight runners on base. We struck out 10 times.

I got my first at-bat of the season to lead off the fourth. I took the first pitch for a strike, took the second pitch for a ball outside, and then hit a screamer down the first base line -- right to the first baseman. He knocked it down with his glove, then picked it up and stepped on first; I didn't have a chance ... Then in the seventh, with a runner on first, I singled to the left side and landed at second base on an error ...

But that's when the most memorable moment occurred. While I stood on second, the second baseman stepped over and touched the base. The umpire then called the lead runner, J.D. -- who was now standing on third base -- out because he apparently failed to step on the bag. J.D. was livid and went into a tirade, cursing the umpire all the way back to the dugout. Really, his reaction was a stunner to all of us, and when he didn't shut up, the umpire tossed him from the game and the ballpark. Unbelievable.

I would get to third base by tagging on a fly ball ... but that's as close as we got to scoring another run.

We left another runner stranded in the eigth inning, and gave up the fourth run in the bottom of the inning on a dropped fly ball.

And so the season has begun ...

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