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eye on the ball

As this year’s World Series winds down to its final game or two, and the boys of summer and the Mr. Octobers walk off into the sunset for another season, America’s favorite pastime leaves the diamond until next spring.

I, for one, love the romance of baseball — but some of the rules of the game stymie me. Of course I understand how the game is played — but not some of the details like tagging up vs. tagging a player, those backward Ks, when a foul counts as a strike, designated hitter vs. none, yada, yada, yada. (And don’t even get me started on trying to figure out if a 90 mph pitch is in or out of the strike zone — it’s going too fast for me to see.)

SAMSUNGBut sitting in the ballpark on a not-too-hot day, sipping a beer, wearing my Dodgers cap (okay, it’s black and pink, but it still counts) and waiting for that sound of the bat that tells you the ball is outta here — I’m happy.

To me, there’s still an innocence to baseball (cue the hot dogs, apple pies and Chevrolets) that doping scandals haven’t destroyed. An innocence best portrayed by me, at one of the first Dodger games B. took me to.

There we were, sitting in loge seats on the third base side. I was like a kid, not knowing where to look first, totally enjoying being taken out to the ballgame. I was also chattering a mile a minute — asking questions, commenting on uniform colors, wondering how the peanuts guy managed to toss those bags to fans rows and rows away, snapping selfies of B. and me. The 03-03_thumbonly thing I wasn’t doing, apparently, was paying attention to the ball. (Not as oblivious as Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year, but close.)

Our seats (I found out later) put us in foul ball territory for left-handed hitters. I, having no idea, continued to chatter (yakking and talking, talking and yakking, as B. puts it) as balls were hit (balls flying everywhere, according to him). Once or twice, he even stuck his hand in front of my face. “What?” I asked. “Hey — I can’t see the game or the scoreboard with those backward Ks, or the screen or –” B. grabbed my face and kissed me (apparently there was a break in the onfield action). “It’s ok,” I told him. “I forgive you for blocking my view.”

“No, honey,” he told me patiently. “I was just trying to get you to shut up for a minute. There are balls flying by everywhere and you’re not paying attention. I’m trying to protect you from getting hit in the head.”

Oh. Good point. As a result,  I was terrified of being hit by a leftie every time we went to a game. Until B. figured out a solution.

For my next birthday, he got me my very own baseball glove (no, it’s not pink). So even though I may not catch on to all the technicalities of the game, I have a good chance of not catching a ball in my teeth.


© 2013 Claudia Grossman

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