An exciting thing will happen this Saturday! This is something I never thought would have happened, even more so after you know just how my little league career went.
For one reason or another I deeply wanted to be on a little league team when I was in 3rd grade. Why was this? I can't remember but the urge was strong even though, at the time, my eye-to-hand coordination was awful on a good day and I had the poise of an Olympian sprinter who had vowed not to jump in the hurdles.
Regardless of these issues I was a little league player and don't really remember if I had a good time at it. I played left field which was sort of like being a ghost in isolation because nothing happens in left field. Over the course of the year I got better at fielding during practice, but batting was something I just could not get a grasp on.
In the league I was in they had this silly rule that if the bases were loaded the batter could not be walked; this single-handily took out my strongest ability because I had a, "good eye". Okay, maybe I didn't have this good-eye and it was that I simply couldn't hit the ball, but I'm sure I led the team in walks.
In the one season I played I managed to get on base via hitting the ball once. I could hit the ball, and many times we had to search for the ball as I fouled it behind the screen, or my other favorite place to hit the ball was the 1st baseman's glove.
During the games I tried to get into the team spirit, but often times I felt like I was just missing something. This is hard to explain, but maybe the best way to say it is I mimicked the other kids, and I cheered, but I was just doing so out of thinking, "if they are I should too".
As the year wore on I got more and more discouraged. I can remember during the summer attending a baseball camp put on by the high school and the people who were the coaches used vulgar language and seemed to yell a lot. There was no pleasing these people and during this camp I had my best hit ball ever, but I was told to, "hit it further next time". This quickly led me to believe there was no pleasing these people and being on a team sport was pointless and I dropped out of the camp and never played on a team again.
Now why do I recount these horror stories from 1992? Baseball was a sport I never thought I'd do anything in. However, last month I ran the story about the All Stars for Autism fundraiser and what I think I left out was the person who raised the most would get to throw out the first pitch on April 23rd as the Reds come to Saint Louis to face the Cardinals. Thanks to everyone who donated as I was the person who raised the most!
So, this Saturday, I make my Major League debut. It's only for one pitch, and the one pitch is all but irrelevant to those who attend, but to me this is my one chance to have said that I, "made it" to the top. Again, I know full well that my throw of the ball means nothing, but to me, well, let's just say I don't want to put the ball in the dirt. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch is something I probably will never have the chance to do again so I have to make it count.
Sometime either today or tomorrow I am going to spend some time to practice throwing a baseball as I have not thrown a ball since 1998. The realization has not set in yet that I am going to get to do this. What a contrast to my little league career when I was that invisible soul in left field. I'm sure everyone who saw me play thought I had no future in the game, and they were all but right, but on Saturday, for one pitch, in a Major League Stadium, I will be the pitcher. Sure, there won't be a batter, but that's beside the point; let me have my one pitch in glory. I'm sure it's nearly every American kid's dream growing up to one day play baseball in the Major Leagues and against all odds I will have made it to the top if only for one pitch. Wow, this is going to be an awesome experience!