Play Ball!

At the gathering of last weekend’s Watts Happening II Ride, friend, Blogdowntowner and fellow IAAL•MAF’er Eric Richardson told me just enough about the Los Angeles Baseball League tryouts he’s planning on attending this coming Sunday morning at L.A. Valley College to get me thinking I’m a-gonna go as well.

I know: sillysauce. Especially since Eric has high school baseball experience to draw from, and is something like 20 years younger than I am. But still: there’s something about the thought of playing BASE BALL (said the way deep and reverent way James Earl Jones does “Bull Durham”) that just gets me going.

But if I do (and it’s still a bit of an “if”), first I gotta hit the batting cages one evening this week — the nearest of which I believe is the Batcade on Victory near Olive in Burbank. There used to be a place on Colorado out in Glendale but I think it’s loooong gone. The only other one I’m familiar with is at the Sherman Oaks Castle miniature golf place on Sepulveda Boulevard.

But before that I have to locate my baseball bat that’s sat in a variety of closets since the last time I played in an adult baseball league, which would be the summer of 1994… with my wholly unremarkable season cut mercifully short by my motorcycle accident that July.

I do not lie when I call the season unremarkable. I think the only reason I got bumped up from the free agent pool (a league’s equivalent of wannabes and wallflowers) to a team  was because I exhibited some type of lumbering hustle on the field to make up for a lack of skill and experience that perhaps someone in authority found endearing. It also helped during my batting tryout when I hit a couple deep flies and then flat out lucked into connecting solidly with a 60 mph (at best) toss from a pitching machine that I put over the right field fence at the Pierce College ballfield, which made someone mistake me for someone who could actually hit — or at least do so consistently. Seven or eight games into the season I think I got on base three times. Four counting one walk. Hey, a walk’s as good as a hit!

My cleats and mitt aren’t quite so old or dormant as the bat, I last used those playing softball in 1996 or ’97. But I don’t know exactly where they’re stored either.  And I know for a fact that my baseball pants are long gone, finally falling victim to a clothing purge of a couple years ago. And my throwing arm? Let’s just say if anyone’s got a spare southpaw model lying around — or hell even just a decent left rotator cuff — I’ll take it. I retired mine around the same time I sent those pants to Goodwill, not by choice but rather necessity.

But still, with all that going against me I’m still thinking I’m going to dust off my love of the game and get out there and potentially humiliate myself. Eric and I are of the same mind in regards to the open tryouts: they don’t cost nothin’.

Except maybe a little self respect.