Q: Phil, what have you been doing with all that free time in the afternoons and weekends since the end of the baseball season?
A: You know, that’s a really good question. I wish I could tell you that I’ve been filling that time by getting around to all of the stuff I missed out on during the season, but I’m not that ambitious. Laughs. Honestly, though, I’ve been mostly eating and sleeping – but I guess those are things that I missed out on during the season. Laughs hard, transitions to an unattractive cough.
It’s true. Since the end of the baseball season, I’ve been able to drive home in moderately severe traffic instead of severe traffic. I get home to a muggy house and immediately strip out of my work clothes down to my boxers. Then, I find one of the two fans in the house and put it on the blast setting – nevermind the oscillation – and pass out until Lynnette calls me to move the car. Sometimes, Madison and Lynnette’s parents are home. Since they’ve retired, my in-laws pick up Madison from school, so we’re saving a little scratch in the way of after school A-Plus fees. We’ve only got about half a month left of school until summer and believe me, Madison and I are about to explode with all the anticipation we’ve been building.
It’s official: my baseball head coach is out and his staff along with him. I wasn’t going back next season anyway, but this kind of just cements all that. This season didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped, and maybe after all this time, my love affair with baseball is showing signs of fading. I submit for evidence the fact that I do not own a single fantasy baseball team this season. That is HUGE.
Seriously, though, short of siring a male heir, I don’t know if I’ll ever coach at the high school level again. Without getting into the details, it’s much more of a grind that it used to be. The kids’ mentality is different, and maybe I lack the patience and willingness I possessed at various points over the last decade. I had even admitted to Matty that it had become increasingly more difficult to get up for Sunday and Monday softball games. Before this season, I never wished for rainouts or been completely fine with sitting on the bench for extended periods of time. I want to say that this baseball season has caused a kind of slow burnout, but I don’t know. Is it just age coupled with dwindling interest?
The Wrecking Crew gave up 12 runs in the first inning last night but we somehow ended up winning the game. I drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 6th inning after three less-than-stellar at-bats. In the top of the 7th with runners on second and third and one out, the batter hit a grounder up the middle.
I was playing shortstop because our regular shortstop was pitching and Matty did not make the game. It should be made clear: anytime I have to play shortstop, the planet is a step away from the apocalypse. Anyway, I played the batter up the middle based on his last at-bat, then got a good first step off the bat (READ THE FIRST HOP!). There are several things working against me on a play like this: 1) I am slow. 2) My gut prevents me from bending over low enough to field skipping grounders like this one. 3) If I get going, my weight makes it very difficult for me to slow down; think of those runaway truck stops on the H3.
My positioning and first step took care of problem #1. I dove for the ball which took care of #2 because gravity. The ground took care of #3. I caught the ball (first time I got to a diver in at least the last dozen tries) and popped up to my knees. I saw where the runner was – far away – and did the sensible thing: tried to throw an accurate one-hop to first.
The problem is from that position, my shitty shoulder prevents me from getting anything on the throw. Instead of the respectable one-hop, I threw a 6-hopper which declined into a roll by the time our first baseman scooped it up.
Q: Phil, were you embarrassed by such a pathetic throw?
A: Of course. But did I make the play?
Q: Yes, but-
A: That’s that.