From self-narrated backyard wiffle ball games to practicing backhands throwing a ball against a brick wall, baseball encourages audacious dreams.
Last summer, thanks to Baseball Seams Co. and the America at the Seams project, I was provided the opportunity to go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and tell baseball stories. Going to the Hall of Fame had been a dream for decades. Before I left on the trip I practiced my stories, telling them to Kaylea’s English class. Eli heard my stories.
“How was Cooperstown?” he asked while we played catch.
“A dream come true,” I replied with the only words possible.
Eli is the catcher for the Central High School team which means that he catches Caleb (Day #74) on a regular basis. Since the school doesn’t have a summer team, Eli’s been coaching little league and helping umpire when he’s not off camping.
He dreams MLB-playing dreams, hopefully for Cardinals, following in the footsteps of Yadi and Stan the Man. He also dreams movie-making dreams.
“I’d love to work on films related to baseball,” he said with a smile.
He watches movies seasonally; The Sandlot and Field of Dreams are among his favorite baseball flicks. I told him that I’d be in Dyersville next week playing catch on that field, which will be another dream come true.
Aside from playing catch at the Field of Dreams, my other ridiculous baseball dream is to throw out a first pitch for the Royals. Back when I pitched for Kickapoo against teams like Central, I was a strike-thrower. Twenty-seven years and a couple surgeries later and I’m not near as confident in my strike-throwing abilities.
Eli brought his catcher’s mitt to Fassnight Field and walked me through his team’s warm-up process.
Feet in concrete.
Feet in concrete with twists.
Hip twist, jump and tag.
Then backing up every couple of throws in to a comfortable game of catch at about 150 feet.
Fassnight Field does not have a mound, so I paced of 61 feet and called it close enough. I threw about 15 to 20 pitches and most of them were decent-ish. I definitely gave Eli practice framing pitches.
And then we switched.
Like a true catcher, everything Eli threw had natural movement. It was fun being on the receiving end of his pitches and I was grateful for the padding in the new Wilson.
After catch, I returned home to get an email about another baseball-filmmaker-dreamer, Darrin Butland. Darrin, a USC Film School graduate, has spent the last 10 years making a baseball documentary called Timeless. The goal of his film is the capture the spirit behind the game of baseball. The Ghost Players at Field of Dreams are featured in it for their Ghost Sundays featured throughout the summer.
“This is not just a baseball film — it’s a film that ultimately shares how every act of kindness and opening one’s heart can enrich the lives of many willing to take a chance on one person’s dream.”
You can see the instrumental trailer here.
Dreams come true through sweat, perseverance, and always, always a little luck.
If and when the Royals call, I want to be ready.