My Baseball Memories: “Off the Clock”
It has been said before that part of baseball’s appeal is that it doesn’t run according to a clock. There is artifice, to be sure, in the game – the nine-inning structure is an arbitrary construct, after all – but the artifice does not extend to the competitive duration of any given contest. There’s always enough time in baseball for your team to come back from a deficit or to cough up a lead. If you’re favorite football team is down three touchdowns with forty-five seconds left, you can pretty much turn off the TV. If your baseball team is down five runs going into the bottom of the ninth, well, you might want to keep watching. And I love that.
I love it because it mimics real life as much as a game can: in order to do something, you have to do it all the way. A team that has gotten all but one out hasn’t actually accomplished anything. One baseball team has to stare down the other and keep staring until the final out is recorded. There’s no spreading the floor to milk the clock, no faking an injury to use up stoppage time, no kneeling down to force the other team to use their final time out. I enjoy those sports that operate by the clock, but for me there’s something organic about sports like golf and tennis and especially baseball that require full attention until the final play has been made.
I have to think that part of my love for this facet of baseball came about because I was, at one point, a 75-pound weakling. That probably needs some explaining.
There were two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of what was supposed to be a six-inning game. It was the championship game of our regional tournament for 10-year-old All Stars. In the town where I grew up, the 11-and-12-year-old All Stars were eligible to work their way toward Williamsport and the Little League World Series; the 10-year-olds only competed in regional tournaments. So, win or lose, this championship game was our final game of the season. And it was the bottom of the 8th, with two outs, and we were down by one. I walked to the plate, a short and skinny ten-year-old with spindly arms and goofy sport-specs. I was an All Star, of course, a center fielder and third baseman with a strong arm and a great batting average, but I can’t say that I inspired fear in the opposition when I strode to the plate that July night. With a one-run lead and the bases empty, they had to be feeling good about their chances.
READ THE REST AT FOULBALLZ.COM
Ed Comber (VP Of The BBBA/Owner – foulballz.com) Follow @foulballz