Jerry Zezima: Poppie at bat
If, as a former sports journalist, I could vote for players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, I would vote for two superstars who deserve to have plaques alongside the greats of our national pastime.
I think, of course, of my granddaughters Chloe and Lilly.
The girls, who are 8 and 4 and a half years old respectively, recently showed off their punching and throwing prowess at the first sleepover they’ve had at my house since last year.
Our activities, most of which also involved my wife, Sue, included baking cookies, eating pancakes, drawing pictures, watching movies (âZombiesâ and âZombies 2â), going out for ice cream, getting in a car. for children, zooming in on a slide, blowing bubbles and, the highlight of the visit, playing whiffle ball.
One player who sure won’t make it into the Hall of Fame – unless they buy a ticket – is yours, who turned out even worse in sports than I was writing about them.
It was sadly evident when the girls and I set up a ball field in the backyard, where they crushed my pitches and made me feel theirs.
But first we had to have some spring training, which was to show the girls how to hold the plastic bat.
âAre you right-handed or left-handed? I asked Chloe, who was holding the bat on her left shoulder but with her hands transposed.
âOK,â I said after correcting his hold.
When Chloe was standing in front of me, I said, “Turn around a bit, hold the bat, look over your right shoulder and look at the ball.”
Two seconds later, after making a sneaky throw, I saw the ball fly past my head.
“Good job, Chloe!” Lilly yelled, picking up the ball and flying it back to me with her right hand.
âHave a good throw, Lilly! ” I said.
âThanks, Poppie,â Lilly replied modestly. “May I knock? “
“Let’s give Chloe a few more chances,” I said.
My next pitch was low. Chloe did not swing.
“Good eye,” I commented.
Chloe made a foul on the next pitch, which was inside. She pursued an outside throw before digging.
– Two shots, I say. “One more and you’re out.”
My next throw was in the middle. Chloe parked it. In fact, the exit speed must have exceeded the speed at which the cars cross the stop sign in front of the house.
“Home Run!” I exclaimed.
“My turn!” said Lilly, also a southpaw who I had to go through the same routine with: hand placement, correct posture, raised bat, watchful eye.
She shot my first throw over the line for what would have been a ground rule double.
“Okay, Lilly!” Chloe cried.
Lilly missed the next two shots.
“One more?” she asked me as I walked into my liquidation.
The word “yes” had barely left my mouth when Lilly’s batted ball nearly hit me in the mouth.
“Home Run!” Lilly declared.
If I had been the starting pitcher of a major league game, I would have been sent to the showers. So I decided it was my turn to beat.
Chloe was the relief pitcher. His first pitch was weak, but I still swung – and missed.
“Hit one!” Lilly yelled from what passed for the outfield.
Unfortunately, I never took the ball out of the infield. Chloe’s confusing assortment of throws sent me on the strikes.
Then Lilly came in to throw. The result was about the same, although I missed a few shots and hit one, but it went straight to Chloe, who picked it up and scored me.
When the game was called off due to pain (I injured my knee), Chloe and Lilly had argued for an induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As for me, being sent to the minors was the only option after being beaten by a few minors.
And the poet who wrote “Casey at the Bat” might have concluded, “But there is no joy in Oldville – the mighty Poppie has struck.”
Jerry Zezima writes a humorous column for Tribune News Service and is the author of five books. Email: [email protected] Blog: jerryzezima.blogspot.com.