Only the Mailman Walks

I started playing kid-pitch baseball in ’84.  I was on the Angels for the second time.  The opposing pitchers had terrible control, but I swung at everything and frequently missed.  I had photogray lenses that turned dark in the Los Angeles sunlight.  I tripped a lot.

I never walked.  If I was playing shortstop at the beginning of an inning, I ran to my position.  If I struck out, I ran to the dugout.  At the end of the game, I ran to the snacks.

One bright Saturday, we traveled from Granada Hills to Mason Park for a game.  I came up to the plate with two outs.  I was mad at the kids on the other team because one had said, “Hey Shortstop, nice shades,” when I first took the field.  I gave him a mean glare.  He couldn’t see my eyes, the lenses were so dark.

Bases loaded, I had two strikes.  I watched the coach go through the signs and had no idea what he wanted me to do.  The pitcher wound up and let a fastball go.  At 10 years old, we only threw fastballs.  And they weren’t really fast.  I thought about not swinging, told myself, “He’s going to call it a strike.”  I could’ve used my mouth agape look back at the umpire if he did, but the pitch was down the middle.

I stepped, squeezed my eyes and the bat and swung.  I felt the bat hit the ball before I heard the ‘tink’ sound.  And I ran.  I circled the bases, thinking about the high-fives for the grand slam and the kid who wished he didn’t say, “nice shades.”

We won that game 36-4.  The Mason Park teams were terrible.  Almost 30 years later, I remember exactly what that ball looked like as the centerfielder turned around and ran.  And I remember running the bases.

Zach began to run.  He never really walked.  Life is far too exciting to waste seconds on end.

About Jimmy

The stories herein are about a sentimental 80s child who cried at every showing of ET (the sad part where he was lying in the wash) and his families, then and now. His wife, son, parents, and siblings play their parts well. They have their exits and their entrances. Sometimes their exits are sad, but not as sad as ET.
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12 Responses to Only the Mailman Walks

  1. inkline says:

    You always make me laugh. Too bad the kid couldn’t see your glare and good thing you ran to snacks.

  2. Kerry Wester says:

    You just described the way I spent my every Monday and Thursday night in June! Sadly our team was the Mason Park team. But Derek ran everywhere he had to be! Most of the time I am not sure he knew why he was going where he was going. He was just happy to be there. And thanks for explaining why that guy was always flapping his arms over by first and third! I will be ready for next year! Go Zach GO!

    • Jimmy says:

      I can’t wait for Zach to be that age! I’m sure I’ve been on my share of Mason Park teams, I just don’t remember those stories..

  3. Maxi says:

    Yeah, Jimmy, you did it! I love this story. And Zach (my favorite name), I can’t believe how grand he walks.
    Blessings – Maxi

  4. granbee says:

    LOVE it so much when toddlers just get up and RUN everywhere! Such a full life of joy they experience! Let us join them!

  5. Mom says:

    Silly me. When I saw the title, I thought you were going to write about my postal career.
    Give Zach a big kiss for me, if you can catch him.
    Love you guys…

    • Jimmy says:

      I could have told the story about how you would come to our Saturday games in uniform and, if we lost, dad convinced us that you were the jinx… perhaps that story will come another time!

  6. colonialist says:

    Hah! Our little lass is lazy. Still toddles insecurely at 15 months. Has a mean crawl, though.
    Love the baseball story. Interestingly, thanks to American media exposure most of us are reasonably familiar with the game, and we can identify with it even if we have never played it, .

    • Jimmy says:

      I feel that way about cricket. I was in Kuwait in ’96 and, thanks to the British influence, happened upon a cricket field. There were a couple of Indians playing there and I tried to join their game, but I was too baseball centric to either pitch the ball or hit it with proper form. Alas.

  7. Loved the story and the video. Our grandson is now at the run-everywhere stage at about 13 months. One great step for babyhood, one great leap to grown-up-hood! As much as you can’t wait for him to be able to play baseball, don’t forget to appreciate the little steps in between, too! 🙂

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