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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: It’s hard to argue against a solid fielding percentage

I suspect most guys my age are more mature than this.

But for some of us who considered ourselves decent athletes as kids, that building block of self-image never completely crumbles away.

Even if playing infield in Little League was 50 years ago.

Sounds silly, perhaps. But it’s true.

I was reminded of this while attending three major league baseball games in the Midwest last month. Our seats for each of the games were in prime foul-ball territory.

And I actually had this thought: If a ball is hit to me and I mess up the catch, I’m not sure I will ever get over it.

Yes, it is crazy to put pressure on oneself about such a statistically unlikely and cosmically insignificant prospect. But I’m just reporting what happened. To be sure, I am not bragging. The men I admire would not have spent two seconds fretting about this.

But there I was. Anxious about the fact my vision is not what it once was. Mindful of how my reflexes have declined.

Silently telling myself, “Enough with the loser excuses – just be ready and then make the play.”

To ease the tension, I turned to two boys seated next to me at the first game. They looked to be about 11 and 8. Each had a baseball glove.

“Well, guys,” I said to them. “If a foul ball comes our way, do we call it or is it every man for himself?”

Without looking at me, the older boy said, in crisp, even tones, “Every man for himself.”

I determined in that moment that I would go ahead and shove him out of the way if that’s what it took to make a catch.

As it happened, the opportunity never arose. I had zero fielding chances and, more important, no errors.

And the hot dogs were terrific.

Slice answer: Mead’s Teri and Paddy Inman saw the question about special rules for croquet.

“The chickens on our farm on Peone Prairie are ‘free range,’ which means they also have access to our lawn. When we play croquet, if a contestant chooses to play barefoot, they get an extra stroke if they accidentally step in chicken poop.”

Today’s Slice question: Who is the worst speller you know?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Not sure why anyone would be surprised “The Monkees” TV show did not age well.

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