Some of you may recall a little misadventure my son Bob and I had during a work-break game of catch on Memorial Day.
Well, I’m somewhat embarrassed to report we experienced a similar one Wednesday night. And this time, we’d even shifted our location slightly, and switched positions, in an attempt to head off further trouble.
Totally my fault this time; well, my fault and some more of the worst luck any catch player could ever expect to have.
We’d been throwing for about 10 minutes and were just about done when I asked Bob to get into a catcher’s stance so I could toss him a few pitches. I’ve been doing a little pitching for my old guy team this season, and I both wanted some practice and to try to work out the tightness in the front part of my shoulder — tightness that had been making it difficult to really “pull down” and keep the ball from sort of sailing high.
Things were going OK, though not great, and I decided one more pitch, maybe with an attempt at a little extra velocity, would be enough for the night.
Unfortunately, not only did this final pitch ride high, it went so high that Bob couldn’t glove it. Again, the ball went bounding into Sixth Avenue and toward the fenced-in car dealership next door.
All the thing had to do was take one more normal bounce and slam into the chain link fence and all would have been fine, but in something of a billion to one shot, the ball managed to perfectly catch the sidewalk lip, which propelled it at least 12 feet in the air and over the roughly 8-foot barrier.
Seriously, I could fire balls toward the sidewalk and fence all day and not get that to happen again.
Luckily, it didn’t hit any of the Mark Thomas Motors inventory. That was the good news. The bad news, of course, was that we had lost another ball, though once again, I could see it there in the middle of the lot.
So, with my surgically repaired arm having healed for an additional three weeks, and wearing jeans instead of shorts this time, I probed the entire perimeter looking for my best spot to scale the wall — part of which was topped with three strands of barbed wire, the rest an iron bar fence featuring dagger-like spikes.
“This is stupid,” Bob said again. “I want no part of this. You’re breaking into somebody’s property over a baseball when you have 50 more of them at home. It also looks like 20 stitches waiting to happen; how dumb are you going to feel telling this story at the emergency room. The risk-reward ratio just isn’t there.”
After a few minutes, I reluctantly agreed with him.
“If it were, like, an injured puppy in there, I would try to hop the fence, and I’m sure I could, but you’re right, the risk isn’t worth it for a baseball,” I said. “But I just hate leaving a baseball behind.”
“You can probably go over there tomorrow morning and get it,” he said.
“Probably not, because I won’t be to work till kind of late.”
But then, for reasons unrelated to the ball, I ended up coming in around 8:30, so I went ahead and paid MTM a visit.
“Did you pick up a baseball this morning?” I said to one of the salesmen.
He smiled. “I don’t know; let me ask the detailers; they opened up.”
A few minutes later, he returned with the ball for a happy ending.
I texted Bob to tell him of my victory.
“Congrats,” he wrote back. “I’m sure it was worth all the time and effort you put into it.”
Bob’s sarcasm aside, it was. And I even had Mike Henneke commemorate the triumph with the camera on his Droid: