“Be there for old friends.”
Only five short words and it was some of the best advice Buck O’Neil passed along toward the end of his life. I hope all of my old friends that I’ve re-connected with this year know how much I appreciate them being there for me.
Adrianne has been a friend for a long time. Amazingly, neither one of us are old. I’ve known her since our junior high school days. Helping me get one step closer to the finish line, she volunteered her son Morgan as a catch partner.
Morgan is a freshman at Kickapoo, a southpaw first baseman and pitcher with dreams of hitting the field for the MSU Bears in a few years.
“I like playing catch anytime,” he said, even as both of us tried our best to keep our hands warm. On a couple of occasions, I caught his throws in the palm instead of the pocket and felt it all the way to my shoulder.
Morgan’s a Cardinals fan and delighted about the new first baseman they acquired via trade last week. His best day on the field came a couple of years ago.
“I went 5 – 5 with three doubles and a pair of singles and got the walk-off hit. It was a pretty good game.”
Soaking up as much sun as possible, we stepped out on the practice field next to the baseball field. We practiced a variety of pitches, a few short hops, and then stretched out for a little long toss.
Making new friends through playing catch; I think that’s something that would make Buck proud.
Only Buck O’Neil days of catch playing remain.