For It’s One, Two, Three Strikes…You’re In.

Two Bros at Batting Cage - 01BBrother X Winding  Up - 01B Earl Tossing First Pitch - 01A John Throwing First Pitch - 01A

I never in my life was a power hitter, so I’ve only been able to dream of hitting a baseball over the fence. With that dream in mind, though, I bought two tickets to take batting practice with the local Minor League baseball team, The Lancaster Barnstormers. I gave the second ticket to Brother X, so I would have the added power our sibling rivalry always stirs up. Plus, I’ve been practicing since January. The more I practiced, though, the more I realized that it’s never gonna happen. So I had to revise my Bucket List for my aging body. Now, I’d be satisfied if I was able to hit a baseball so hard that it might bounce and roll all the way to the wall.

Last Saturday was the big day. Brother X was in town, and my Long Beach friends John and Margaret were also here. In addition to the Batting Practice tickets, I also had three tickets to throw out the first pitch at the ballgame that night, so John, Brother X, and I were all scheduled to pitch later that night. That’s one of the advantages of a small town. I doubt you would be able to slip somebody a few bucks and take batting practice with the Yankees, or throw out the first pitch at Citifield.

We arrived at the stadium at 2:30 and joined the others who had tickets for batting practice. They were all young children accompanied by their parents. We were told that the parents would be allowed to sit in the dugout if they signed a waiver. I turned to John and Margaret, “Mom, Dad…would you like to sit in the dugout?”

So, they signed the waiver, and we all got on the field. Only Brother X and I had tickets to bat, but John was allowed to shag fly balls in the outfield. I have to admit that I missed as many as I hit, and I didn’t drive the ones I did hit too far. I did get one good foul ball on the third base side that did roll to the wall, though. So, Mission Accomplished. Brother X, sandbagger that he is, was driving the ball all over the field, and was even calling his shots. “Here’s one for John,” he would say and then hit the ball in John’s direction. John was happily loping around catching everything we hit. The three of us were in our glory.

A few hours, and a few beers later, we were back at the park to throw out the first pitch. Brother X threw a strike. Last year, when I threw out the first pitch, I bounced one in the dirt. So, I aimed for a spot about 10 feet over the catcher’s head and heaved the ball with all my might. My throw was a little wide of the strike zone, but it reached the catcher on a fly. So, I was happy. John then threw a duplicate of the pitch I had thrown. None of us bounced it in the dirt. Go team go.

I didn’t knock any balls over the wall in batting practice, and I didn’t throw a strike on my first pitch, but it still turned out to be an absolutely perfect day, and The Barnstormers topped it off with a 7-4 come-from-behind victory. So, I think I can check off all the baseball items on my bucket list, and next year I’ll have to come up with a different way to entertain my big city friends when they come to my small town. I was thinking that next year I might hire a few Amish guys and we could have buggy races around my block. Wouldn’t that be cool? You can’t do that in New York, except maybe in Central Park.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,


Oops, I Did It Again

Britney Spears  “…Ooops I did it again.  I played with your heart…”

For the second time this month, I made a visit to the Lancaster General Emergency Room. Same problem, chest pain. The new medicine they gave me obviously wasn’t working. So, they gave me different and stronger medicine. Pain gone, and I’ve been pain free for a week now, so I think they finally got my meds right.

I felt good enough to attend the home opener of the 2014 Atlantic League Champion Lancaster Barnstormers last Thursday. They were playing against their arch rivals, the York Revolution. Lancaster is nicknamed the Red Rose, and York is nicknamed the White Rose. So, when these two teams meet, it’s the War of the Roses.

The game went back and forth with York drawing first blood, but the Barnstormers battled back valiantly. The local heroes emerged victorious in a seesaw game to win by a score of 6-5 win. Too bad they had to cancel the promised Fireworks show after the game, but local ordinances prohibit Fireworks after 10 p.m. on a school night, and the game didn’t end until 10:30. So, on the way out they gave everyone a free ticket to another game. You gotta love these minor league teams. It seems like every day is Fan Appreciation Day.

They offered a 2 for 1 hamburger special, and, since I just got out of the hospital, Debbie offered to do all the running back and forth to the food court. “Nurse” Debbie was on the job all night, so I was all set. Since it was opening day, though, the place was packed, and we weren’t the only ones who wanted to take advantage of the bargain burgers. So Debbie probably missed most of the game, waiting on line for either burgers or beers. She never complained once, though. So, it turns out she’s pretty good at nursing, except when it comes to beer.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,