It’s been said, and I agree, that baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball and then it starts all over again. It’s a little boy’s game that grown men play. It’s my game. It’s America’s pasttime.
My daddy played it. I played it. My son played it. We skipped one generation, but now my great-grandson, Brennan Walker, plays it. He’s 4 years old. He plays for the Phillies in the T-ball league. He has a special friend on his team, Cullen Turner, who is a few months older but somewhat smaller. They both run about the same speed.
If you haven’t visited the ball park and seen all these kids play, you should come out and watch them some night. When it all started, these yahoos didn’t care who won. They just wanted to play. Then the parents began to get involved and as always, they want their team to win. It’s a lot more fun when winning doesn’t take first place. After all, they’re just babies.
My daddy was probably the most famous umpire in Tipton County. He umpired in Dixie Youth Baseball for 25 years for free. He always said that the only problem they had in Little League was the parents. I see that building up more and more. I didn’t see, it but I was told that a school teacher was ejected from the park for arguing with an umpire recently. I wonder what that looks like to Brennan and Cullen and their teammates.
The Phillies, just like the other teams, have a power hitter, Brock McMahon. He smacks it pretty good. I think that these other two are fan pleasers.
They all get three swings at a thrown pitch by their coach. If they don’t connect, they set up the tee and they have one swing to hit the ball off of it. Many years ago, I coached in Dixie Youth and I believe that sometimes it’s more of a challenge to knock it off that tee clean than it is to hit a thrown pitch. The two fan pleasers usually connect in one way or another.
My choice for the Phillies MVP (most valuable player) would be Cullen Turner. You see, when he was just four months old, he had heart surgery. He’s got a scar just like the one I have. Not long after that, he had spinal surgery. I see those scars, too. If you come out to see him, you’ll notice that he rolls his neck around when he gets on base.
Cullen proves that baseball is what it was designed to be. Somebody throws the ball. He hits the ball. He runs the bases. On defense, he throws the ball. He catches the ball. Then it starts all over again. It will always be America’s pasttime.
Just like Bobby Leroy said, “Throw me your best pitch and I’ll show you what this game is about.”
Jerry Wilson, a 1956 graduate of Byars Hall High School, is a freelance writer.