Game 3: Bad day

The game started so, so well.

I batted in the leadoff spot and started the game with a single up the middle. Then I advanced to second base on a bloop single into the outfield.

I took third on a ground ball to the third baseman -- it was a force play, so I had to go -- and got around the big third baseman with a hook slide into the base as he reached to tag me. I scored on a single a few pitches later and we went up 1-0.

And then …




That run I scored would be the only run we put on the board until the eighth inning. We lost the game 11-4.

Baseball players are famously superstitious and -- aside from my thrilling run around the bases to start the game -- things weren’t right with me from the beginning.

Rather than thinking about playing baseball, I had been keeping an eye on the Weather Channel and secretly hoping for a lazy, rainy Sunday. The radar images had storms passing over us throughout the weekend and they called for a 70 percent chance of rain, beginning at 3 p.m., our game time. … But the storms never came, and we played under sunny skies.

Add to that, we were playing at a new ball field that was a 25-minute drive out of the city. I got a late start on my drive and arrived almost 30-minutes late for our warm-ups … Usually, I’m among the first at the ballpark.

I also forgot my water jug on the kitchen counter … leaving my mouth dry for most of the game.

I got the start at second base and we figured pretty quickly during our infield warm-ups that it was going to be a tricky infield. The grass was rutty and the dirt was dry and gravelly ... The ball was taking bad hops all over the place.

In our league’s four-year history, two teams have dominated the standings. No matter how talented we know our team is, one of them beat us last week ... and we were betting on the other taking it to us today.

My mind had the best of me before the game started.

The first batter in the bottom of the first inning hit a ground ball right at me … and it bounced right by me. An identical play occurred to start the second inning. Then in the third, I fielded a perfect throw to catch a runner stealing second base but missed the tag.

To put it bluntly, a couple of us in the infield did a fabulous job of putting the game out of reach for our team. And by the sixth inning none of us were arguing with Coach’s suggestion to pull us.

I stayed in the batting lineup, though I didn’t do much more of anything there, either. In the fourth, I got down in the count by swinging and missing two nasty curveballs, and then struck out looking at a fastball that caught the inside corner. … In the seventh, I came up with no outs and two runners on. I got down in the count again, but I battled and fouled off three or four pitches before the pitcher got me swinging at a curve -- which got better the deeper he went in the game -- for strike three. We eventually loaded the bases in that inning, but failed to get any of our runners across.

Finally in the ninth, we showed some life, stringing together a few walks and a couple hits for some runs. But the damage had been done…

The game ended with me waiting in the on-deck circle. I hate it when that happens.

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