Fond Baseball Memories · 12 July 2014

Baseball season is a time of fond memories for me. I see the kids at the park playing games and it makes me think back to those times when my wife and I used to sit in the stands cheering for our kids.

All three of our kids played baseball for at least one season. I have vivid memories and dim recollections of those times. I remember the kids on the prepped fields. I remember the parents sitting in the stands cheering for their kids. (Unfortunately, I also remember with dismay some of them yelling disparaging remarks at their kids or the umpires or the coaches.) And I remember with pride seeing my own kid out there in his spiffy uniform ready to play. Standing at the plate. Running the bases. Looking good in the field.

But I also have memories of a different kind.

Only our middle son, Thing 2, played long enough to get somewhat proficient at the game. I remember him playing baseball at a young age (it seems like he was just a toddler). He was out there in his uniform looking good. He was grabbing grounders in the infield and tossing them on a rope to first base. I never had visions of the major leagues. Instead, I had visions of what my dad might have looked like way back when he was a kid. (See Baseball Visions.)

Unfortunately, when he was not in the infield, he was not always in the game. Which was, of course, the case with all three of my boys. When they were out in left field (or any field for that matter), they were out playing in the field. Literally.

(I need to interject a note for those not accustomed to watching little kids play baseball. The younger the players, the less need there is for any of them to play in the outfield. There are ground balls and fly balls like any baseball game, but for the youngsters, few leave the infield. If I was the one making the rules, I would have all the little kids play infield when they are first learning. There would be a veritable gauntlet for the batters to hit a line drive or ground ball through. And if one of the kids hit a fly ball over their heads, it would be a mad scramble out to get it. Hopefully, somebody would stay behind to be on base in case there was a throw made. But regardless, it would be great entertainment. Even if you could not really call it baseball. And it would keep all the kids involved. Kids who did not get the ball would run to the base as either the baseman catching the ball or as the backup. They might not have started out where they would in a real baseball game, but they would end up there. They would learn the fundamentals even though they would not know exactly where they were supposed to be when the inning started. Then, as they got older, one person could play the whole outfield, then two, and finally three. It would be real baseball in the end. But I digress.)

I know that my vision of little kid baseball goes against the grain, but it would prevent at least one parent in every crowd from trying to hide from all the rest.

I do not remember which one it was, but I distinctly remember writing a note to myself to write something about my kid playing baseball. It was not about a great play or throwing the ball on a rope to first base to get the final out. It was not about smashing the ball through the infield for a double or stealing second base. If the boys had played much, I might have been able to write about those things. Instead, it is probably best that one of my most vivid memories of our boys playing baseball does not include a face on my player.

At every little league game I have ever watched, there is always at least one kid out in the field who is picking grass or running around like an airplane or just twirling around with his arms out wide trying to get dizzy. Even if you did not know any of the players, you could still tell whose kid it is by who is yelling at him to stop and get his head in the game. Or by who is trying to hide from all the other parents. You can almost see into that parent’s head (usually the dad) and see that he thinks all the other parents are pointing and laughing at the dad.

I have been that dad, but I was a little different. I might have yelled something at my kid (hopefully encouraging), but I know that at least one time, I chuckled and wrote a note to myself. “Mine is the kid who is twirling around in the outfield.”

I had been the embarrassed parent. I had been the proud parent. And I had been the parent who is a writer picking out something amusing to write about my own kid, apparently preparing for this article all those years ago. It is a good thing that I do not know which of my three sons was the culprit (maybe all of them were at one time), so they can laugh too. They can remember that their brother was the one sitting in the outfield pulling out clumps of grass or twirling around getting dizzy. They can remember that one of the others was the one I wrote the note to myself about.

My kids no longer play baseball, but when I go to the park or see baseball on TV, I cannot help but have good memories. I think of my kids and my dad. And when I see that embarrassed parent hiding, I look out onto the field to see who is twirling around or pulling clumps of grass. When I find him, I remember that my kids were like that too. As I chuckle to myself, I am thankful for the fond memories of my boys playing baseball.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook


Commenting is closed for this article.