When I was a kid I wanted more than anything to be a good baseball player. I loved the excitement of opening day, I loved watching it, I loved playing the game, and I loved going to the park. I always thought that was the best gig in the world. Loads of money to have fun? Where do I sign up?
I began my career like everyone else, in the Hegewisch Pee Wee League. Okay so not that everyone gets their start in Hegewwisch but they do at the Pee Wee level. I was a nerdy, scrawny, stick figure. I could have been confused as a tee. In fact, I am sure my coach may have accidentally put a ball on my head before noticing I was a kid.
I was probably good at that level, I don't recall. I mean we hit off of a tee, you have to good at that bit, right? I know I had heart, because I have heart and I know that I always have. I put my all into everything. A basketball coach, yeah I tried basketball, told me he appreciated my cheering from the bench. So not a compliment but whatever I was good at something so...
"Be a cheerleader. B-E a cheerleader"
You can only be in Pee Wee for so long so I moved on to Little League. So different than the everyone wins mentality of pee wee. I had to like try out and junk. Try out? But I am a hack. I need a tee, I need an automatic walk, and I need to learn to play baseball...or at least look good at pretending.
After try outs there was a draft. I was picked to be on a team. I was going to be on the Indians but then the manager of that team quit. Seriously, one day I got the call that I was drafted then the next day I was told my team was no more. My dad raised hell and I was told that I would be joining the Giants. I was being called up to the show. Later my dad would regret this. I do not know what argument he made but I can't imagine he told anyone I was a benefit.
Oh but I had heart.
So I played, I was mediocre at best. Okay I played poorly I was afraid of the ball. Seriously they were gunning this sphere of fury at the future home of my handsome face. My goal at the plate was to walk, my goal on base was to hopefully never have to steal, and my goal in the field was wish very hard for the ball to be hit to someone else. I played every position but pitcher. Not because I was that good but because the coach was trying to find my poor play a home.
Fred Savage even played in the same field I played in in the 80's. He joined an all star group from Blue Island to face off against our all stars. I was not an all star so I did not get to battle him for Winnie Cooper's affections. No but I was allowed to be there and watch and be a good cheerleader. Man, I could not even have that to hang my hat on.
After Little League came Babe Ruth. I saw the "kids" in the Babe Ruth league. I was not afraid of losing. I was afraid of losing then being stabbed. That is when I called it quits for a couple of years. I knew my limits as a player. I wasn't prepared to come armed to every game...and practice.
Also, I remember my dad blaming my mom for me being left handed. I was a freak of nature and being left handed made me uncoordinated. I mean you never hear of left handed baseball players. It is not like they are sought after in baseball... oh wait, yeah they are. It is okay, I was just bad at sports. I know my dad is a shitty comedian. My dad is good people but his jokes aren't.
I did decide to try once more and try out in high school. That was a joke. I am so happy there was no camera phones and Youtube back then. I know I would have been great fodder. I rightly did not make the team.
So there it went my dreams of being a baseball player. Do not give me a ball. Do not give me a bat and glove. I traded my love of baseball to a deeper love of music and comedy. Not together but separately. I became a music nerd. I am a comedian. I know music and I am told I am funny.
No I won't be a jock. That is okay I am enjoying my life of school, comedy, writing, and my friends and my more than friend. I turned out okay without being a baseball player.
Plus, who even knows what happened to that Fred Savage kid...
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