Monday, October 6, 2008

The Tee-Ball Chronicles – Week #2

San Diego – Jalen Cameron made his tee-ball debut for the Pirates in an exhibition game against the glorious hated A's on Saturday. Despite the threat of inclement weather and a shocking amount of base running incompetence from his preschool-aged teammates, Jalen went 2 for 2 out of the leadoff spot with a game-tying grand slam in the 2nd inning.

Disappointment to the Power of 10, 4 1: Jalen was still bummed about being a Pirate, but the thought of wearing a real uniform top was keeping him emotionally afloat. The coaches called the team over and started handing out these garish mesh black and gold tops (ick…glad I'm an A's fan…). Jalen was handed #10 to which he responded, "Ten?! That's my favorite number!" Unfortunately, there were two jerseys that were intended for the two obligatory fat kids assigned to each team and this was one of them. Fortunately, Jalen's REAL favorite number is four, so I asked for that on the grounds that the coaches had broken my son's heart. Guess what number the other big-boned boy on the team got? So, Jalen got #1.

That First Base Coach Guy: I volunteered to "coach" first base. My job duties included yelling "first base!" to the kids in the hope that they'd pump their stubby baby legs up the line after hitting the ball; then yelling "second base!" to get them off the bag and – more importantly – off my watch; and, finally, backing up the first baseman on the, umm, occasional throw that got by him. And, look, they've put my son at first base to officially kick off his tee-ball career.

"Now, just because I'm his father, he will get no special treatment. He calls me coach just like everyone else. Which he'll be doing, as our new starting quarterback first baseman!" - Homer Simpson from "Bart Star", Episode 5F03.

The New Hot Corner: Coach Chris gave Jalen a lucid, detailed explanation of what to do at first base. Jalen apparently heard "hold out your glove" and stopped listening. Thankfully, I brought my glove and saved about 100 runs in my half-inning of work. Two things: nearly every child failed to throw the ball directly into Jalen's glove (as per this parent's tee-ball expectations) and, Jesus, some of these children have kid-sized cannons for arms. I've never popped a glove with a throw in my life. That's cuz I'm "crafty" in baseball parlance.

Even Better than the "Oakland" Nickname: As an armchair baseball analyst, I suppose I'm forced to question the construction of the Pirates' batting order. As Jalen's dad and unabashed fan of Rickey Henderson, I've gots noooooo problem with the coaches telling the kids to line up one through ten based on their jersey numbers. Leading off for your Pirates, #1…Jalen Cameron! He legged out an infield single, just ahead of the "throw" that got there…eventually.

The Jig is Up: After coming around to score, Jalen and the Pirates went back out into the field. This time, the boy was assigned to centerfield. Try as he might, he could not understand why no one was hitting the ball to him, so he remedied the boredom by running after every…goddam…ball. Grounder to short? In comes Jalen. Dribbler in front of home plate? In comes Jalen. I should just sign him up for soccer and expedite my misery.

Chip Off the Old Block: Despite the fact that this is one of those "we don't keep score" tee-ball leagues, the score was 10-6, A's. Oh, please, like I was the only parent keeping score. And with the bases loaded, Jalen brought 'em all home on one of those "only in tee ball" comedy of errors (that the official scorer correctly ruled a home run). The hour-long adventure ended 10-10, with another hour on the adjacent playground to follow.

"OK son, just remember to have fun out there today. And if you lose, I'll kill you!" - Homer Simpson from "Lisa on Ice", Episode 2F05.

They tied, he lives.


Ted said...

Good stuff. However, for the Simpsons quote to end I would have gone with "remember what Vince Lombardi said. Lose and you're out of the family" from Dead Putting Society.

Anonymous said...

10-10? Christ, the pitching in that tee-ball league sucks.