If you met my oldest son for the first time today, the introduction would go something like this…
“Hi, I got a grand slam and a three run homer.”
Oh, the joys of t-ball.
Luckily for me, baseball gods be praised, my oldest and his younger brother (who is on the same team) both got a grand slams and three run homers in the same game. Though my oldest will be quick to point out that he got the first one.
I have to say that it is nice to watch t-ball this year. Both the boys have been playing multiple years, so they have a grasp on the basics of the game and finally enough upper body strength to hit the ball out of the infield. My middle son gets his best hits at his first at bat. He is one of the smallest kids on the team, so they pull everyone in when he comes up. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than watching him tattoo it over everyone’s heads. In my head I am shouting “that’s what you get for underestimating my boy!!!”
They have the world’s best coach. All kids play all positions. Period. No kid gets stuck in right field for the whole season. Tots that can barely wipe their own noses get to play pitcher (yes, there is a pitcher in t-ball) and first base. It is a glorious exercise in everyone plays. Some of the coaches in this league get a little nazi-esque in their quest to relive their glory days, or latent desire to be a big leaguer. I have seen first graders being chewed out for not turning a double play when the fact that they even know there is such a thing as a double play should be cause for champagne. There are teams where the little kids aren’t even allowed to practice with the bigger ones, being shuffled off to play catch while the big boys are taught the finer points of the squeeze play (I exaggerate a little here, but only a little).
Mine are beginning to stretch their minds into the minutia of the game. They try to stump me with crazy scenarios (well, they think that they are crazy). Little do they know that all they have to do is ask me to explain the infield fly rule and I will quickly connect them to Uncle Alan, the only person I know who understands it.
They thought they had me with “you can’t steal home base”, when much to my relief there was a straight steal of home a few days later to show them on You Tube (they, of course, didn’t believe me when I told them you could do it). My middle son looked perplexed for an afternoon, and when I pressed him on it, he said…”I think I know why it is so hard to get a grand slam.” (now that he has hit one he fancies himself an expert on them). “Why?” I asked. “Because you have to have all the guys ahead of you get on base. That almost never happens!” I love that he thinks the hard part is getting the bases loaded, not the hitting the home run. And just to keep life interesting, right after I explained that grand slams are really rare, even for the pros, Derrick Lee and Ryan Theriot hit them in almost back to back games. Now they are convinced, yet again, that I am full of shit.
In addition to a rock star coach, we have a good group of parents this year as well. We have all agreed that snack moms will bring something dinnery when they have games that play through dinner or lunch, and there are usually carefully disguised adult beverages to make the monotony of watching balls streak between the legs of all four infielders before being overthrown to first. One special mom even arranged to have the names lettered on the back of their t-shirts so that the encouraging banter could move beyond “Good job buddy” to “Way to run it out Jimmy.”
I look forward to t-ball every year, then proceed to bitch about it through the whole season. And though I am grounded in reality enough not to count on the college scholarship, it is nice to see them do well at something that they really enjoy.
It all changes next year when the oldest graduates to pitch ball…ever heard of a game where all the runs are walked in? I have. They call it the little league no hitter.