I thoroughly enjoy watching baseball. The other evening my favorite baseball player struck out twice, collected one base hit, an RBI and a run scored. The team managed to knock off a previously undefeated team and move up one in the league standings.
My favorite player, being 10 years old, does not play for the Kansas City Royals. He is, as I’m certain you have surmised, my grandson, who plays on a third/fourth baseball team in a league of 12 teams from Harrisonville, Belton and Grandview.
I enjoy being in the stands (more accurately in my lawn chair) watching with the other grandparents. Oh, there are other family members there, such as parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and the like, but I enjoy the company of the grandparents.
I enjoy having the sole responsibility of showing up. I don’t have to worry about getting kids to practice, helping with coaching, finding misplaced ball gloves or shoes or caps or anything else. I have done my time and this is my reward. My job now is to show up and cheer and encourage.
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We have two sons who played baseball as youngsters. Needless to say, neither ever went pro, or played on the collegiate level or even in high school, for that matter. My duty as a dad back then was to get them to games, with all their gear, and to constantly encourage them to improve and most importantly, have fun. I was even a coach for a few of those years.
My grandson was complaining last Sunday because he had to leave the Father’s Day festivities and his cousins to attend practice. I reminded him of his obligation to the team and the fact that all the professionals were away from their families that day, playing baseball and, of course, supporting their teammates. That seemed to perk him up a bit; that and the promise of ice cream upon his return.
His countenance did change considerably and he left in a better mood. Mission accomplished.
Undoubtedly, we are not viewing any future major-leaguers when we watch these games. It is, however, really enjoyable to witness the improvement in the abilities of each of these young players game after game. The best part, for me anyway, is seeing how they grow in their understanding of the game and how to play it. Most importantly, they are learning enough to have fun.
I don’t know where this team will be when it ends its season any more than I can predict how the Royals will finish. I just know that I enjoy watching baseball at both levels, perhaps more so when my favorite player takes the field.
There was another interesting activity for me on Father’s Day. My son-in-law and I got into a discussion about the old Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” radio routine. Naturally, I knew the names of all the players from their skit. Of course, we had to find a recording on the internet and we had to listen to it again. Just the two of us, mind you, no one else in the family was that interested in hearing it. They don’t know what they’re missing!
Of course everyone probably knows Who is on first, What is on second and I Don’t Know is on third. Without looking it up, can you name the rest of the position players? And by that I mean all nine of them? Just a hint — one of the answers is a trick.
Baseball is still the great American pastime and remains firmly engrained in our culture. See you in the stands!