Friday, June 21, 2013

On This Date in History

Here is another letter with yet another font style. Microsoft Word, the word processing program I am using, offers more than 50 choices, though you shouldn’t expect me to try them all. I try to pick a readable style, and at least half of what is offered is a little too artsy or specialized.

I feel a little responsible for Andy’s below-average pitching performance yesterday. I left work early so he could warm up before his game. He pitched about 10 minutes, about an hour before game time. In the first inning of the game, the first two batters hit the ball back to Andy. He fielded each one cleanly and made an accurate throw to first. Two outs. I was happy to see him off to such a good start. The next batter, a classmate and soccer teammate of Andy’s who is my nominee for best hitter in the Little Bucks League, boomed a double over the right-fielder’s head. Batter number four hit a dribbler to the third baseman, who had trouble picking I tup and made a very late, but accurate throw to first. Then the first baseman, noticing that the lead runner was ten feet off third base, threw the ball back to the third baseman, who let it get by him into foul territory. The unearned run tied the score. Andy’s team had scored once in the top of the first. In the second inning, Andy lost his control. He walked three batters and hit two. I wondered if maybe he was tired from the pitching he did before the game. He was upset with himself, and I felt so bad for him, but he managed to finish the inning, but not before the other team scored four runs.

I was pleased that Andy was able to shake off his disappointing performance rather quickly. He stayed involved in the game. The second pitcher for his team didn’t do any better, also giving up five runs in 2 innings. A couple of pitchers on the other team were wild, also, which allowed Andy’s team almost to make a comeback. Down 10-8 in the top of the 6th (in a 6 inning game), Johnny Strnad, the team’s best player, was up with the bases loaded. The players were screaming encouragement from the sidelines, but Johnny ended up grounding out into a force out. The two teams that played last night are probably the best in the league.

Later in the evening, when I asked Andy about the warm-up pitches, he said, no, that wasn’t the problem. He was trying to aim the ball. Meaghan, the only girl in the league, led off the 2nd inning, and I wonder if her presence upset his pitching rhythm. His first two pitches were way outside, as if he was afraid he might hit her. As his coaches told him, everyone has an offday. Next time Andy should feel a little bit more comfortable in a pressure situation.

This morning I left Andy sleep in until 8:15. He has another game tomorrow evening and plays in a tournament in Beaver Dam this weekend. “He needs his rest,” I thought, “and I don’t have to be to work at any particular time.” That gave me a chance to do a few things around the house: finish sawing up the tree limb I cut down last weekend into manageable pieces to carry to the curb, sweep the kitchen floor (dotted with so many crumbs I’m surprised I didn’t hear a crunch when I walked on it), vacuum the back hallway (where the boys deposit wood chips from the inside of their shoes each day), start a load of ash and get it into the dryer before leaving for work.

Eddie was up when I finished my Walkfit, an unusual circumstance as he is usually the one who is reluctant to get up. Andy’s sleeping in gave Eddie some bonus TV time. Also more time to play with Boxer, who is starting to move off the floor with greater ease and spring.

This morning as I was leaving the bedroom, I heard the soft plink of a chord of sour notes coming from the living room. I found Boxer crouched on top of the paino, loking at his world from a new vantage point. He hoped back to the floor with a little bit of assistance on my part and a gruff, “No, Boxer!” Tuesday night I fixed myself a tossed salad with tuna added in. Boxer remained at my feet throughout my preparations, meowing occasionally and looking as though he might be considering a jump to the countertop. I suspect that feat is in the not-too-distant future. For that reason, I resisted the urge to give him a treat.

I apologize for not calling lately. Things have been so hectic with the boys’ sometimes competing baseball schedules and our other activities. While exercising this morning, I thought about calling before going to work but got sidetracked by other things. At least you are getting regular letter from me, so you have an idea of how life is proceeding her. The big 4 – work, the boys, the house, the yard – take up most of our time.

I haven’t been following baseball too closely this year. I usually have the TV tuned to “Sports Center” when I’m on the Walkfit, catching as many baseball highlights that will fit into my 20 minutes of exercise. I glance at the team standings (hoping for a Yankee loss, which happens too infrequently this season) and the box scores (more interested in attendance figures than anything else – wondering how much longer Montreal and the Twin Cities can keep a baseball team when they usually attract less than 10,000 people to a game), but I don’t study them like I did 30 years ago. I leave that to Andy now. I’d like to take the family to a game at Wrigley Field sometime this summer. I made a couple of trips there in the mid-80s with some Oshkosh friends. It’s a great ballpark; it has a very intimate feel. Every once in awhile, Andy will ask about the possibility of this trip. I should check the schedule for a good match-up. The Cubs vs. Cardinals. Andy would get a kick out of seeing Mark McGwire in action.

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