Tour of Hope Day #2
Sponsored in part by
Baseball Seams Co.
I wrote a little about today’s charity softball games a couple weeks ago.
I was on Team Blue, Sarah’s team, and scheduled to sub into the second half of the second game. The game that started at 1:00 and had to change to the Black Bob fields because MidAmerica Nazarene needed a little longer to recover from yesterday’s rains. The game that was played in a heat index of 100 degrees. On Memorial Day weekend.
I was most excited for the chance to finally play catch with Mike. Several years ago, Mike was the very first person who encouraged me to write Royals stories my way, not filled with statistics and analytics, but stories of the intersection of all of life and baseball. He was also the first person to donate to the Go Fund Me for this “Tour of Hope.” And two years ago, Kaylea and I took a picture with Mike at the Dressed to the Nines Day at the K. I love that picture.
“I haven’t hit or thrown or caught in quite a while. Probably not since I was coaching three years ago. I’m gonna fall apart inning by inning.”
I think it’s been 9 years since I’ve played softball. Maybe 10. Falling apart inning by inning is a distinct possibility. So is the horror of striking out. I made the mistake of actually saying that to Mike.
“I hadn’t even thought of that but now I’m terrified of that.”
“Best of luck to us and our tendons, hamstrings, ankles, and joints.”
Mike and I warmed up in right field, where the grass was high but dry and we dodged fly balls and line drives of teammates taking batting practice. Groans accompanied most throws, which is perfectly acceptable for warming up. I am fairly certain I was the oldest player on Team Blue, proudly wearing #50 with my tall socks.
The game started and two players of Team Gold struck out in the first inning. Oh the embarrassing horror. Mike and I watched and cheered our team and did our best to keep muscles warm and stay hydrated.
In the third inning, or maybe it was the fourth, Team Blue had the bases loaded with one out and a high pop-up was hit to the shortstop…who let the ball drop and quickly turned two. Sarah, our manager, along with others on the team argued passionately for the infield fly rule. After the dust had settled, only one out was recorded and the bases remained loaded. The next batter was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run to tie the game. In slow pitch softball. Carrington Harrison, guest play-by-play announcer, said that inning would be discussed on SportsCenter tonight. I plan on watching.
Mike and I were scheduled to sub into the game at the same time. He headed to second base and I went to right field.
Right field, it’s easy, you know.
You can be awkward and you can be slow
That’s why I’m here in right field
Just watching the dandelions grow
The second batter in the top of the sixth inning was a power-lefty for Team Gold. I moved back close to the warning track. The lefty hit a rocket shot to second base that Mike turned into a marshmallow and then easily threw him out at first. The next inning, I made a sliding catch for the third out.
Here in right field, it’s important you know.
You gotta know how to catch, you gotta know how to throw,
That’s why I’m here in right field, just watching the dandelions grow!
In the eighth inning, Mike was a step short of turning a true 6 – 4 – 3 double play. It was impressive.
I led off the bottom of the tenth inning and hit the ball solid, but straight to the left fielder. Them’s the breaks.
At least neither Mike nor I struck out today. Blue lost the game 17 – 13, but $2,000 was raised in the 3rd Annual Blue & Gold Charity Softball Event. Between the two games, 73 people played. In the game I played in, almost everyone on the field was connected simply because of Royals Twitter. I’m hoping to come back and play on Sarah’s team again next year.
Baseball brings people together.