I’ve been seeing too many Little Leaguers lately. They are constantly outside my grocery store begging for cash. I once did a post about this suburban panhandling. It drives me crazy. Everyone wants a handout. You used to get something for your donation. Now they just put little Timmy in his uniform outside the Acme and play the numbers game. I’m sure they do better than I did when I was selling raffle tickets with a grand prize of 700-level seats to a Phillies/Cubs game in 1987. But, all these mumbling beggars have gotten me thinking a lot about my days on the Little League diamond. I definitely miss being out there. I wish there was an adult league where you could take BP and infield a couple of times a week. I have no desire to face someone who is trying to get me out, but I wouldn’t mind taking an occasional hack. Turn a few double-plays with no one running, that type of thing…
One of the classic parts of Little League was the tournament at the end of the year. It ends up sending you to Williamsport if you win the whole thing, but I’m not even sure if I was aware of that the first time I played in it. I think you have to win about 16 games to make it to the LLWS. I didn’t play on a real dominant Little League squad. One of my first tournament memories is endlessly running into the gap in left center field to try to cut off yet another double. It was the first time I played the outfield and we were getting shelled. That year we played the minimum 2 games in the double-elimination format.
This quick little anecdote, though, took place in my final year’s quest for Williamsport. I think we may have actually won a game this year. Perhaps even 2 games. That’s when Groundhog Day happened. At least this is how it exists in my memory. It’s most likely just fragments, because the real painful details have been expunged. According to me we were either playing in or against a team from Exeter, PA. Now, Exeter is not anywhere close to where we are, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the field was very far away and Exeter is in mind. I’m telling you it was Exeter, damn it! Anyway, I think it was an elimination game and we get all the way up there and start getting beat. Pretty handily.
One thing about Little League was you knew right away whether you had a shot or not. It’s not like a team a jumped on you for 5 runs in the first inning and then your ace left-hander, all of 12 and a hot mess, settled down on the mound. If you started getting your tail kicked, it usually stayed kicked. On this day, however, we were saved by the grace of the summer thunderstorm. We had driven all the way to Exeter, so we attempted to wait it out, but to no avail. Cancelled. Our large deficit, for the time being, was erased.
The next part is foggy. In my exaggerated memory, I want to say we tried to play the game 3 times, but it was probably only twice. Maybe there were other trips to Exeter mixed in, but the final game was much like the first. We were getting handled, and then there was this painfully repetitive inning amongst this very familiar ass-kicking we were taking. It was the Little League nightmare scenario. We were down huge. The bases were loaded. Our pitcher was wild, and we had the infield in, because if the lead got any bigger than 7 runs (or whatever it was), we clearly weren’t coming back. But, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with the infield in. We didn’t get a guy at the plate, a ball skanked through, there was little humpback liner behind first and I remember turning myself around before dramatically NOT catching it. I remember several people looking on in horror at that particular moment of unathleticism (at that point in my life I was quite a sound fielder). But, we were in Little League disaster mode. Nothing was going right, it was never going to end.
What could possibly bring us out of this funk? How about a death-blow? We needed something so definitive that it would erase our nerves completely. That’s when a kid on the other team homered off the tippy-top of the flag pole in center field. DING! It was hilarious. The kid’s nickname was “Worm.” I will never forget that, and it is probably the only accurate detail of this entire story. It was one of those, “if you are going to give one up, you might as well give it up,” moments. I think everyone settled down after that. Quite sure we weren’t going to Williamsport we got out of the inning and ended the cycle. We’d never return to Exeter.
I don’t know what became of “Worm.” I bet that might have been the pinnacle for him. The moral of the anecdote is obviously never play your infield in during a Little League game, but also, “Go to Exeter Once, shame on you, Go to Exeter Twice, shame on me.” And, there it is.
MLB Underdog of the Day: Friday’s Result: Loss. Financial Status (-$700)
The fatal flaw here was really I shouldn’t be picking every day. I needed to be more selective. But, that horse has long since left the barn. Nothing to do, but get to negative 1,000 dollars and put us all out of our misery.
Today’s Selection: Minnesota (+200) over Boston.
Trying for the flagpole on this one.
Top-8 Most Despised Beers:
- Blue Moon–Seriously, an Orange?
- Corona–Seriously, a Lime?
- Bud Light Lime–Shame on you Budweiser.
- Yuengling Lager–Over what? Rated.
- Michelob Ultra–Water has 0 calories.
- Rolling Rock–Why would you Ever?