Made for kids

Drew loved baseball from a very early age...with his Daddy's influence, of course!  Sometime in 1986, Huber Heights, Ohio.

Drew loved baseball from a very early age…with his Daddy’s influence, of course!
Sometime in 1986, Huber Heights, Ohio.

“Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.”  — Bob Lemon

Those of us who admire the complexity of baseball — or maybe only imagine that we do — might think Lemon has oversimplified things with this statement.  But he has far more authority on the subject than I do, and in many ways, I think he’s right about grown-up ambitions and agendas messing with something nearly flawless in its purest form.

One doesn’t have to be adult or sophisticated to get enough of a grasp of the game to enjoy watching or playing it.  And even those who live in the endless universe of baseball statistics might admit that the most appealing aspects of the game are still the most basic.  A team sport where each player’s individuality is highlighted and accentuated; a game with a predictable but theoretically unlimited structure; a brilliant excuse to get outdoors as soon as the weather allows, and stay out until the cold returns.

What better gifts to give our children? Or for that matter, ourselves?

One year ago today:

The last refuge

8 Comments

  1. raynard

    Julia, I once heard and I tell young people this. Baseball is a young man’s game. Grown men get paid alot of money to”play a young man’s game.. I also say”If you don’t love whatever you do “you will do it sloppy”.. you can’t be and do your best when you dont know”what your best is, or have no motivation or encouragement.. I’m talking about myself now when I discovered, I was good at track and field in grade school.. I never follow any further pursuit of it.( bowling and weighlifting go figgure). The art of mentoring one on one especially at work with young people and their” I’m grown and I dont need anyone telling me what to do atitude and other challenges. If you “dont eat the bread of life and”drink the living water” you will stay tired, run down and frustrated and”burnout”..It’s ok to say no and step back when you are overwhelmed and “your joy has left the building like”Elvis”.. Be blessed

    • Raynard, we would think that being paid to play baseball would be a dream, but judging from the salary disputes and other tiresome issues, apparently not all the players agree. I just have to wonder whether we will ever see another player with the character that Lou Gehrig showed in this short but memorable speech. I hope that at least some of the young people today will learn from the examples of strong people who faced far more than they can imagine.

  2. Sheila

    Good Monday morning, Julia. Now it’s so obvious why little Grady’s growth chart, that Drew and Megan use, is a baseball bat. Love it! 🙂

    • Yes, baseball has been Drew’s all-consuming interest for as far back as we can remember. We did not allow him to play little league until he could get control of his emotions while watching the A’s or Braves play. He used to end up in tears when there was a bad call or a heartbreaking loss. When I took him to the first-ever World Series game in Atlanta and he kept his temper through that long, long game with all its ups and downs, we knew he was ready. He was seven years old at the time. He started playing that next spring at the age of 8, and played all the way through high school. I’ll always believe he could have played at a small college if he had made that a priority, but he wisely chose academics instead. His teammate from his high school (who played second base alongside Drew at shortstop) went on to play for the New York Yankees for awhile, and got quite a bonus for signing with them. He got Drew and Jeff some great tickets to one of his AAA games. Drew and Jeff still share a love of baseball, and talk about it whenever they get together. Both of them are looking forward to baseball season this year – I’m already hearing about spring training!

  3. My gosh, your Drew was a cute little button. Softball was THE summer thing when I was growing up. I played every year until I was 17 and then coached a year with a girlfriend. We don’t follow it in our house but have enjoyed the odd night at the ballpark. Edmonton hosts a minor league team, we go mostly to gab and drink beer and watch the mascot, ha. There’s so many activities for kids now, gymnastics, piano, dance or art classes, but those are all individual activities. I think it’s good for kids to be part of any sport team so that they get a sense of how to focus on the big picture and contribute to a group. Even if you’re on a bench, you’re cheering. It’s good exercise too.

    • There’s something really magical about being at the ball park, especially on a summer night. It’s fun no matter whether the game itself is a good one. I love all the little things they do between innings, the games, music, etc. What position did you play in softball? I played second base briefly, but I am so UN-athletic that I never went anywhere with it. In high school softball class I was a pretty good pitcher, though. One time when the coach/teacher called a strike on a batter I was facing, she said “That’s no fair, she’s throwing it too fast for us to hit it!” 🙂

      • Good on you Julia, the pitching mound is not for the faint of heart and really the glue that binds. I played Short Stop for a number of years and then Right Field too. I had a good arm for throwing back then. Now I’m terrible. Once I went to throw the Frisbie for Buddy and nailed Mr B, he wasn’t anywhere near the dog, LOL.
        A friend of ours took us once when he had a box. There’s a fridge, sofa and a server. That’s the way to go. It was right between home plate and 1st. They ordered hotdogs with fried sauerkraut and onion. Do you southerners ever eat them like that?

        • That’s pretty much the only way we eat them if they’re not grilled. Some people boil them, but it’s definitely not the same taste. I don’t go for sauerkraut but lots of people do. I like dill pickle relish, onion and lots of mustard on my hotdogs. I know they are TERRIBLE nutrition-wise so I only ever eat them on special occasions such as at the ball park or a cookout! I won’t allow myself to buy them to fix at home, although Jeff will occasionally grill them for me because he knows I like them better than hamburgers. We try to get the nitrite-free kind but they are still super high in fat. Hot dogs and cinnamon rolls are my most “guilty” foods so I don’t allow myself to have them except as a special treat.

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