Thursday, May 06, 2010

All I Can Be

Robin Roberts has died. (The old ballplayer, not the sportscaster/news person.)

I feel I should bring this up because I went to his baseball camp for two years in the late 1980s. Ol' Robin really only showed up on the last day to sign autographs and be in all the team pictures (Team 2 Orioles 4-eva!), but I guess I gotta hand it to anybody who puts their name on something that helps kids learn baseball. Even though in this case it was also the friggin' army! Yes, it was at West Point, and we stayed in barracks and ate in mess halls for a week. I think in most cases, parents would send their kids there for "structure" and to see if the military lifestyle is something they'd be interested in. In my case, I gotta figure my parents were thinking, Just in case you ever get talked into joining the army by some parking lot recruiter or guidance counselor, here's a chance to see how shitty it is--but we'll lure you in with the baseball angle. I look forward to their comments on this--because really, why not any other baseball camp? Why specifically "Army Baseball Camp"?

Memories of the camp:

That Aerosmith song "The Other Side" being big at the time.

The four of us (me, Pat, Mike L., and Michael Patrizio, who was a Mets fan and proudly wore the "Boston Red Sox 1986 World Champs" shirt his dad got for him somehow) doing our impression of what we'd do if we were to throw the final strike of a World Series. Of course Patrizio did the Jesse Orosco glove throw, which still pisses me off to this day.

Playing "Stayin' Alive" in our room and driving Patrizio to the brink because of it. (As 13-year olds in '89, we re-discovered disco before its first "comeback," which started with that "did you hear disco is making a comeback??" infomercial.) We also sang along and replaced the song title with "'79" because it was our favorite year at the time, soon to be replaced by '80, which still holds the title today.

A kid on drawing an "X" on the infield and saying "don't step there." When asked why, he casually replied, "you'll fall through."

Meeting a kid from our neighboring town of Danbury, Mike Moore. Years later, in a high-school era summer league, my Ridgefield New Age of Video squad played a Danbury team, and Mike Moore was on the mound! I led off, and despite the catcher informing his third baseman that the ball was coming to him via the K, I singled. Moore did not allow another hit all game. (I think I also may have been thrown out stealing after the single, but that could have been a different game--what do want it was 20 years ago...)

Hitting a pop-up and thinking for a second it might be a home run (despite knowing I didn't have nearly that kind of power) because I didn't see where it went).

Getting a below-perfect score in the sliding drill and being pissed. I still feel my slide is adequate if not exemplary.

Not taking a shower the whole week.

Walking long, long, long, long, distances. (I don't think they actually made us march.)

Coming up with an idea that you fall asleep at age 4, have a ten-year dream, then wake up again. We named this "your tenure." (It was '89, we were about to turn 14, we loved '79, see where we were going with this?)

A punishment called "the chair" where you'd have to lean against a wall for a long time in a sitting position. Fortunately I avoided this fate.

That All-Star Game being on TV--the one where CBS threw it to "Rescue-911" during the rain delay! (That was 1990; the two years we went were '89 and '90.)

I guess I'll cut it off there. Red Sox go for the 4-game sweep tonight...

Oh and Steve Kull writing "S.Kull" on his glove.
aw c`mon those were awesome - you've gotta share as many as you have
haha, thanks. It kind of gets into serious minutiae after those....

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Location: Rhode Island, United States