for me its all about the love of baseball. i will go out by myself into an open field and just throw balls if no one wants to go. i will run back and forth getting them. i play high school. and i am intense and i work hard. i could care less about the money. give me a glove and ball and i dont care whats going on. i will be on the field.
That’s good stuff to hear. All year I’ve driven by empty baseball fields. Kids nowadays just don’t have that love for the game. There needs to be a passion there, a driving force to get better and to want to learn the game. Some kids have it, most don’t.
For me, that “love” was sticking it to all those coaches who didn’t pick me for those select baseball teams when I was younger. I mentioned this in another post, but I wanted nothing more than to make it, just to prove to myself and everyone who thought I wasn’t good that I was… I think “love” is different for everybody, but it’s the same in that whatever “love” is, it’s what keeps you going, keeps you working, keeps you focused, keeps you staying positive – and eventually lets you live your dreams…
I didn’t know what I was going to read when I saw this topic…
When I was a kid there were nine of us within a mile radius that felt the same way. We played at the local softball field that had snow fencing around the outfield and a backstop made of fencing and telephone poles.
It was four on four and we rotated the pitcher. Of course, we threw the bat and used bottlecaps to determine who would pick first teammate. A shortstop, firstbaseman, left and centerfielder. Rightfield was off limits. We only had one ball for the most part and we protected it with our lives. A homerun in the briar patch was cause for a long timeout for a careful search.
My dad kept me supplied with rawhide and I was alltime glovemaster. We repaired our cracked and broken bats with nails and electrical tape. We carried a full lineup of all star topps baseball cards in our backpocket and took turns pretending we were MLB players batting. We pitched like Juan Marichal, hit like Roberto Clemente and made the basket catch like Willie Mays. We talked about how we were going to make the major leagues someday and break pitching and batting records.
None of us could fathom wanting to play because of the money. There was really no money in it…I guess it was love. I slept with a battery operated nine volt AM radio under my pillow tuned to KDKA and listened to Bob Prince call games in Pittsburgh some twenty five miles up the Ohio River. To me it might as well have been happening on the moon.
Our heros were baseball players and steelworkers. We wanted to be just like both of them. The game was passed down to us by our fathers. We played games of catch with them in the backyard. My dad bought me a pitchback which I used until the netting fell apart and then I patched it up with any string I could find. When the weather turned cold and wet we taped up solid plastic wiffle balls and using the garage doors as a backstop would play nine inning games.
Most of us played at least until high school, a couple played in college and one…one made it to immortality. The bigs.
Our children, have been infected with the same virus. My Milt Pappas (Baltimore Orioles) signature pitcher’s mitt was used by my son to pitch an inning of his last high school game.
Thank you for allowing me to take a mental trip back through time. I really wouldn’t have traded my youth for all the money in the world. Baseball was a major part of my ability to succeed. I’m sure it will be the same for you.
For the love of the game…that’s where it’s at. Let me join you on that trip down memory lane…my playing days, many moons ago.
I first discovered the great and glorious game of baseball when I was about seven years old. I was one of those kids who were years ahead of others in my age group, and I was reading the New York Times when the others were struggling with “Peter and Peggy” (the first-grade reader at the time)—and I found the sports pages, and I read about DiMaggio and Williams and Feller and all the other greats of the thirties and forties. And I just fell in love with the game. Then, a few years later, I got into playing—that all started when I was playing catch with some of the other kids in school during recess and I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery. The funny part was what came attached to it—a nice little curve ball, 9-3 or 8-4, whatever it was, and I said to myself, hey, I’ve got a curve ball—let me work with it and see what I can do with it. I acquired a couple of additional pitches, a knuckle curve and a palm ball, and I learned to change speeds on all of them (not that I was especially fast), and at fourteen, due to an odd set of circumstances, I hooked up with a very good team that might well have been called semipro except that nobody got paid. The manager was a former semipro infielder with good baseball savvy, and we played major league rules all the way—which pleased me very much, believe me. Then, at age sixteen, I decided I needed another pitch. I played hooky from school and went to a Yankees-Indians game, and it was at that time I met Yankee pitcher Ed Lopat and learned how to throw a good slider.
I played till I was in my mid-thirties and then had to stop when my work schedule caught up with me and I lost my free weekends. But I will never forget those days when I played and won a ton of games with my arsenal of snake-jazz. Now, at age 74, I look back on those years with a smile and a chuckle, and I thank the baseball gods for allowing me to share in this great game. :baseballpitcher:
For me love is about proving people wrong…making people regret the things they said about me. I’m still a kid so I have a ways to go yet, but I love the game of baseball. I have loved the same 4 teams diehard all of my life(Red Sox, Pirates, Giants, Twins) but I am a huge fan of all teams except the Yankees. I have a wooden target on my grandma’s shed, and now we have to replace the doors. I have close to 6 baseballs with ripped up covers and stitches from me hitting them. I am on an all-star team and a regular little league team. I changed my batting stance a lot this year, and I got my examples from all kinds of players. Someday I hope I can get to the majors, to prove people wrong and to prove one person in particular wrong.
I hope to God I get there, but if I don’t, hey i had a great time. :baseballpitcher:
I grew up just outside of Chicago in a little town called Romeoville. From the second every year when the snow was gone, we’d play every single variation of baseball type behavior imaginable…it seemed like every single day. With 2 guys it was “against the curb” or “fast pitch” with a tennis ball on the garage door, when we had 3 it was “stealing bases”, more than 3 and it was out in the street for a game, an outfielder and a pitcher and the other teams spare guy caught (I can’t remember what we did if someone reached). We had neigborhood games and in school (Elementary school) we created and administered our own travel squad (We were so proud when our teacher actually came to a couple of those games…mostly it was just us against them and we didn’t care if anyone watched and we’d play til our brothers or sisters would come get us and tell us we were getting in trouble…always it got too dark to see but we wouldn’t give it up).
Man the thrill and fun of having yourself get picked by the good kid who was 3 or 4 years older, and never being that last guy who always looked so miserable. Then watching or being the guy who got the bat thrown to them for a decision on who was home team, hand over hand, bottle caps…we knew what justice and truth was, we all knew what a strike was and never argued about it.
I remember the first time I heard Harry Carey on the radio…it was about 11:30 PM and we were on our way to Dallas for a family vacation, I was like 6 or 7 and we heard Harry broadcasting a Cards game as we passed on down I-80 towards Texas…my brother and I were big history buffs and WWII saavey so we knew when the Japanese commited suicide it was called Harry Carey…or something very similar…we laughed seemed like all night about this guy whose name meant “kill yourself” in Japanese.
Like Dino, we knew the whole batting order of the Cubs, their particular batting stance (I favored the closed stance, high hands of Glenn Beckert the 2nd baseman of what I considered the very best doubleplay tandem ever, Don Kessinger and Beckert, the old 6-4-3, Kessinger to Beckert to Banks) and again like Dino we emulated the likes of Marichall and Seaver.
Argued whether Willie McCovey was a better home run hitter than Boog (The Bogeyman) Powell or Harmon Killibrew…or that big lum ox from Washington Frank Howard. I love to breath too…It is just as much a part of me…
The three L’s
Live it, Learn it, Love it.
This has turned out to be one of my favorite threads of late! Excellent stuff…
i agree. the first line says it all. i love to prove people wrong. its a mistake to tell me i cant do it or u wont do it. cause guess what. with my passion. ur screwed. its gonna get done
And speaking of proving people wrong—there was Phil Rizzuto. He tried out with the Giants and didn’t make it because they said he was “too small”. The Dodgers’ manager told him to go home and get a shoeshine box. But the Yankees saw something and signed him up, and he went on to become one of the premier shortstops of all time. He proved those naysayers wrong.
Ed Lopat tried out for the Dodgers—as a first baseman—and didn’t make it because he couldn’t throw to second base. But while in the minors he caught the attention of one manager who converted him to the mound, and then the White Sox took a chance on him. He spent four years with them as a good pitcher with a lousy team, and then the Yankees decided they had to have him, and they acquired him in a trade, and he spent 7 1/2 years being one of the mainstays of their pitching staff. He too proved the naysayers wrong.
There are numerous other examples of this, so you’re not the only one. Just get out there and show what you can do, and if it silences the naysayers, good for you. 8)
Great stuff Zita, I love your posts. I think my Giants made a big mistake with Rizzuto!
You know I’ve heard this statement more than once, if you’re not having fun with it just leave. There’s truth to that. If you don’t love this game enough to just play and have fun then there’s no reason to show up to the field. I love this game and there’s no greater feeling than smashing a ball over the right field fence and rounding the bases or getting the big K to end the game. I love this game, and can’t stand the thought of knowing one day it won’t be there for me anymore.
You are looking at it from the wrong perspective then…You just ask Coach Baker or Zita if baseball has left them, baseball never goes away…I hope you have a chance to catch a spring training game once in your life (Or another one if you already have) but watch down the outfield lines, you’ll see these old folks, smoking cigars and just watching. How do I know this…they are always there…it nevers leaves them, next year they’ll be there…it is one of my ambitions to be able to join them one day.
Great post , Pustulio! I will surely put that into one of my pre game speeches next year.
Love is experiencing the reaction on the home front when being away comes up.
I had my very first road trip and it was going to be a long one. I kind-a looked forward to it … but being away from my Mrs. - being that we were only married for a short time, didn’t make it easy.
I was really worried how my Mrs would take it. So, when I told here about it I tried my best to say everything positive like:
- Time will go by quickly
- I’ll call you every night
- I’ll send post cards from the places that we stop
- Your picture will be with me always
When I stopped, there was a long pause … I waited and waited for my lovely to say something … and so she did.
She took a deep breath … looked me straight in the eye … and with the utmost sincerity said…
" I only have two words for you dear." ( Hmmm miss you … love you … take care … hurry home…???)
Nope… the only two words my lovely said to me was …" DIRECT DEPOSIT!!"
there is no greater high than watching a group of guys that have talent, play a team with better talent, and beat them because they know exactly what they are trying to do, and they get it done. we were in austin (round rock) playing in the national finals at the AAA park of the round rock express. we were the winner’s bracket winner and needed one win to win it all. we were playing a tough austin slam team coached by a former major leaguer. we beat them in the winner’s bracket semi-final but had to use our horse to get it done. he came back on short rest and they beat him in the first game (they can hit). first game he lost in 2 years. waiting for the second game in 105’ texas heat i was worried. our guys look at me eating sandwiches and said coach, no worries, they’re in trouble. this place is great. they run ruled them on a simple sacrifice fly. they absolutely buried those guys.
that was the best day i ever had with a group of kids. had better talent on teams, but never had a better time. ballplayers are special people, and those guys are ballplayers. thanks for the thread.