On Day #124, I played catch with Ben — the formerly dead person who now teaches at MSU.
In the month since, Ben and I went on baseball trips at the same time. I went to play catch. Ben went to the NCAA Regional in Oxford, Mississippi announcing the MSU Bears baseball games with Art.
The Bears were in one of the hardest regionals in the country, drawing a #3 seed. The Ole Miss Rebels were the #1 seed and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at #2. Even though I was on the road, I was following the team as close as I could. I was thinking about a second trip to Omaha to cheer on the team at the College World Series. I was still hoping to take some of the credit for their success this year, like I told Coach Guttin back in January.
But the Bears went 1 – 2 at the regional, losing the last game 2 – 1 just after midnight and officially ended the season with a record of 40 – 17.
Tip of the hat to Coach Guttin and the MSU Bears on a fantastic season.
Ben and I were back at Fassnight Field and he surprised me with a gift before we even stepped foot on the field. A Long Ball City t-shirt, KC edition.
“It’s the prototype, the first one printed,” Ben said. “I’ve got other designs for other teams, mostly collegiate. I’m still working on the website and thought you might like this one.”
I looked closer at the shirt and noticed the pine tar dripping off the bat and on to the scripted word “City.”
It is awesome.
Now I know what to wear when I play catch with George Brett.
As soon as we stepped in between where the lines should have been spray painted, our baseball-dominated conversations continued. We talked through the highlights of our respective road trips. Ben ate much better than I did; I’m now craving fried catfish and grits. We talked about Satchel and Buck O’Neil and Cobb’s reputation as the result of sloppy journalism. We talked about the draft and he told me of his upcoming train trip where he’ll watch games of the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Milwaukee Brewers.
“Please say hi to Lorenzo Cain for me,” I said.
Since we first met, Ben and I have stayed in touch via text and Twitter and email and I think that might be my favorite part of Catch 365 thus far — making new friends.
I remember interviewing Cleveland GM Mike Chernoff for America at the Seams, how he told me of his intentional, monthly games of catch with his dad, even during the World Series.
As Ben and I walked to our cars, I called out, “Looking forward to catch next month.”
I can’t wait to see what baseball stories happen over the next month.