Q: In Which Scenario Do Players With No Range and No Arm Play Shortstop?

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.

Abby is always happy to great me when I get home.

Abby is always happy to great me when I get home.

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.

Imagery and symbolism and all that.

Imagery and symbolism and all that.

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?

Yes, I made the play.

Yes, I made the play.

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.


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