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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baseball is such a simple, elegant game, when you watch it from the third deck of a major league stadium or in high definition on a big screen. Imagine what it must look like from the perspective of a four-year-old playing his first game on a grassy field with bases and balls and gloves and helmets, with coaches and parents trying to get your attention, after only a month or so of practicing a couple of times a week. Even knowing which way to run, if you should happen to hit the ball, is probably going to be a source of confusion.

That said, Aidenís first ever game was quite entertaining, as spectacle if not quite as baseball. He got two hits and scored two runs, just like every player on both teams. No score was kept and no standings will be posted, and at the end of the season everyone who sticks it out will get a trophy. And by the end of the season, the spectacle will look more like a baseball game than it did today. David is Aidenís manager, and heíll see to that. (Heíll also make sure everyone has fun.)

Aiden was no more focused than any of the other kids, but he had a big grin on his face for most of the game, and he was happy to see everyone who showed up to watch him. He got a little worn down by the end and really didnít want to play the last half-inning at shortstop. He pulled faces and crossed his arms for a bit, but Iím pretty sure Iíve seen the pros do the same thing from time to time. In the end, he probably had a pretty good time, whether heíll admit it or not. And we enjoyed watching him, which also counts for something.

31 March 2009

Aiden scores his first run (with some coaching from dad). Click for more.

Hereís how it goes. The coach pitches and the player takes a few swings until he (or she!) makes contact. As soon as that happens, everyone yells at him to run, points toward first base, and gives him a little shove if necessary. Meanwhile, the players on the other team that are close enough (and are paying attention) race toward the ball (at varying speeds, some with more interest than others), and whoever comes up with it winds up and throws it in the general direction of first base (although sometimes the direction is more general than others).

No matter what happens with the ball, the hitter stays on first until the next one gets a hit. They advance around the bases one at a time until the last player has a turn to hit. The last batter, and all who are on the bases in front of him, keep running until theyíve all touched home plate. Then the teams switch sides and the process starts all over. Tonightís game lasted about an hour and a half and went two innings, although it probably seemed longer to some.

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