I don’t know much about baseball, only the basic rules. I pay some attention to the World Series or, as Pogo used to call it, the “World Serious,” but only to keep up with what’s going on in the world.
I grew up in the 1940s playing “kittenball” – a form of softball, probably – but I haven’t heard of it since then. Two of our girls played in a softball league, but our boys were never in Little League. I’m pretty ignorant about the game, so now I’ll tell you about my non-baseball career.
A few weeks after Ernie and I were married, we went to his hometown in northeastern North Dakota for a weekend to visit his folks. The men in that area were avid baseball fans.
They were so baseball-addicted that I think if you asked them what the last two words of “The Star Spangled Banner” were, they would say, “Play ball!”
Every Sunday afternoon they would play at the local field or at a neighboring one. Ernie joined them one Sunday afternoon while I stayed home with the ladies.
When they came back from the game, they all sat in the neighbor’s yard, resting from their labors, drinking beer and talking baseball.
I suppose, as a young bride, I resented the fact that my new husband had spent five or six hours with the boys, leaving me to fend for myself.
I was standing over him – hoping for some attention probably – but he wasn’t buying it.
Mr. O’Leary, the next-door neighbor and a good friend of the family, was talking about double plays.
“Remember that first famous double play?” he said. “What were the names of those guys, anyway?”
From somewhere in my reading or listening, I dredged up their names.
“Tinkers to Evers to Chance,” I said.
Mr. O’Leary looked shocked.
“She’s right!” he said. “By God, Ernest, you got yourself a good one.”
I left and went back with the ladies. I wasn’t going to wait for another question to spoil my reputation.
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The 2021 High School Optimist All Star teams for baseball, softball and boys volleyball have been announced, and several local student-athletes made the cut.