Friday, August 09, 2013

Back on the Ball Field

Bringing joy to Mudville, and was it ever muddy.
Excitement was in the air today at the unfortunately named Playground Field in Ridgefield, CT today for the annual Hersam Acorn News company softball game.

Unfortunately named because there is not playground nearby - much to the chagrin of Sean.

My son specifically asked to come along so that he could watch me play, something I hadn't done in probably four or five years.  He also thought we were going back to where I played last time, which did have a playground.  Upon seeing today's field, he made a quick assessment.

"I'm going to be bored," he said.

Not so fast.

I had told him earlier in the week that, thanks to an injury to Paul Silverfarb, Sean would be pressed into service as a runner.  He was nervous - very - that he would be too slow or wouldn't know what to do.

He did just fine.  Better than just fine, in fact, as he helped Paul reach base three times (I think), scored once, and had to step in for me at another time.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

The rain, which had been a big issue early in the day, stopped enough where, with the purchase of a rake and broom, we were able to clean the field just enough to survive and improvise.  Teams had already been divided, and I was asked to play center field.  If you recall the last time I played center, please let me know, as I can't remember.

Overall, I did OK.  I made a few plays that were pleasing, but I also had one hit over my head, and dropped one that I would not have missed at an earlier age.  Not necessarily routine, but it angered me enough that I launched my glove (a reminder of my own expectations).

I also struggled with staying hydrated on this sticky, humid day.

As for my hitting, I'll take it.  I swung well in the early innings of this see-saw affair, and would end up with four hits total, an RBI (I think) and a run scored.  In the bottom of the eighth (we played nine), I doubled down the right field line, an improvement off my previous at bat, where fatigue assisted me in having a bad swing, dropping my front shoulder and causing a weak pop up.

I stood on second, ready to bring home what I hoped would be an important insurance run (we were up one).  The next batter hit a grounder to third.  I started off the bag, hoping to induce a throw, then intended to dart to third.  Instead, the third baseman (base-woman?) executed a perfect fake throw, and I was caught in my tracks.  I stopped, reversed, and dove back to second.  As I did, I knew I had a cramp in my left leg.

I was safe at second (that was my first priority).  The next thing was to indicate that I wanted time to collect myself.  I stayed calm, muttering "I have a cramp" before I was surrounded.  I heard someone say "you can see it," and it was true.

A lump the size of a baseball was protruding.

Marty Hersam (the Hersam in Hersam Acorn News) knew what to do, bending my foot back.  Somebody else went and got water.  I heard "maybe we should pour it on his face," an indication that I was probably pretty red.

Finally, as I sat up to drink, there was Sean, who had run out to check on his old man.  Once he knew I was OK, he smiled and joked with me.

I was ready to stay in and, under almost any other circumstances, I would have.  But Sean was a good, and willing, choice to take over for me.  I retreated to the dugout.

My run, sadly, did not score.

I went back out for the top of the ninth, returning to center field until we made a switch that brought me in to play second base.  Our opponents in the intra-company game regained the lead but we had the bottom of the ninth to still play.

One to tie.  Two to win.

We quickly tied it up.  I was "in the hole" as the saying goes, two hitters away from getting my chance.  I didn't need to bat.

We walked off with the win.

Sean was given the game ball by my colleague, Chris Burns.  We had as many people sign the ball as possible.

Then we walked off to eat, drink, and laugh.

Except, I didn't eat.  It was too hot, and, despite the rain cooling us off, I wasn't hungry until later.

All good.  I'll be sore for a few days, but I was so happy to be back on the diamond.

No comments: