From Moth Balls Back To Ground Balls

by Kevin Burton

   Since when does a single beep baseball practice merit a blog post? 

   Since it’s the first one I’ve had since the Obama administration.  It has been a while folks.

   My Columbus friends invited me to join this team of extremely well-seasoned veteran players for a last beep baseball hurrah.  We named it the USA Legends.

   Since the Beep Baseball World Series is being played just a few miles up the road from where I live, it was hard to refuse. They said it was just this once.

   If you want to know the Legends’ plans for next year, a hint can be found on the patch on the right sleeve of the jerseys. It reads: “USA Legends 2021.”

   Had to cancel plans to attend the big Legends practice in Columbus last month because of family obligations.  So today was my only practice with my team mates.

   Some of them I’ve played with on different teams. Some I have played against. Some I have not even formally met yet. 

   For the practice, most players wore the jerseys from teams they have been on before.   I chose my Looney Tunes workout shirt featuring favorite characters such as Sylvester the Cat and Bugs Bunny pumping iron.   It was a reminder for me to have fun.

   I’ve been to some series that were not as much fun because I was coaching a team and had to be responsible for most of the details.  Not having to run the Legends is a big plus. I’m smiling now just typing that.

   It was great fun catching up with old friends. It was also fun trying to get my body to do the things it used to do.  It stayed fun because practice was less than two hours.  We’ll see what happens Tuesday when the games start for real and we are playing all day in the heat.

   A lot of people have had fun over the years watching my batting routine.  No way I can do it justice in a blog format. Maybe I will make a You Tube video. 

   It involves stretching of arms high in the air and shaking of legs just before going into a crouch to get ready to hit. People know I do it but not many know why.

  .  I don’t have the upper body strength that some players have, but what I do have is long arms.  When I move the bat through the strike zone I get a whip action that produces power. That’s what I was going for.

   It takes a long time.  Some opponents have wondered out loud “what in the world is he doing?”  A retired pitcher from one of the Texas teams supposedly said “If he were one of my batters I’d kill him.”

   On the shaking of legs, my wife Jeannette said when she first saw it she thought about the Elvis line “I’m all shook up mm-mm-hoo a-hoo yay-yay.”

   And that kids is the only time Elvis and I have been mentioned in the same sentence.

   I’ve heard some of the one-timer local World Series umpires trying not to laugh out loud while I’m batting.

   There were some kids who used to come around Columbus Vipers practices in the old days and say “he’s doing that chicken.”

   And nobody does that chicken better than I do, with the possible exception of Jeannette, who loves to imitate me. 

   So I’m way deep into this World Series article without saying a word about how my team might fare in the standings. It’s not because I don’t care. Yes, that was me beating the ground in frustration when a ball got past me this morning. 

   But after about 16 months of isolation it’s fun to just get back in the game.  God help me if after all that I can’t emphasize the fun of the challenge and just being a part of it all.

   Tomorrow, as usual on Tuesday, we talk music on Page 7. Beginning Wednesday I’m planning to bring you updates from the World Series.

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