posted by Joe Anaya on July 29th, 2013

Baseball season is in the home stretch. The All-star Game is over. The trading deadline has passed and lesser teams are looking to the future. Along with trading away their expensive stars, they typically bring up their young prospects and give them a cup of coffee in the majors. It was one of these players where I said something I have never said about a professional athlete, “I could do that.”

I was at a ballgame enjoying my popcorn and somewhere around the 6th inning a middle-reliever came in to the game. He was a young kid just called up from the minors. I think the scoreboard showed his stats as a whole row of zeros. And that’s when the fun began. What happened next was unfortunate for the young pitcher.

He walked the first batter on four pitches. I’m sure it’s not the kind of start to his pro career he had hoped for, but in the long term not a big deal. He was probably just a little nervous, maybe his parents were in the stands. Who knows? One of the good things about baseball is that there’s always the next batter.

However, in what can only be described as a minor improvement, he walked the next batter on six pitches. This time there were at least a couple of strikes. Well, one strike while the batter was taking a pitch with 3 balls and the other a towering long foul ball. But at least he’s starting to settle down a bit and find the plate.

Oops, spoke too soon. Two more balls to the next batter and then with the next pitch, he beans him. He has loaded the bases. Now I’m really starting to pay attention. In a rare event, baseball has gotten exciting. Everyone’s paying attention. I even set my popcorn aside to watch the next pitch.

And then for the coup de gras, he gives up a grand slam. And that’s the end of his outing and pretty much my attention span. 14 major league pitches. I don’t remember his name, so I’m not sure if he ever got another chance, ever.

Now, I’m not an athlete and have a great deal of respect for professional athletes and all the work it takes just to get to that point. But I’m pretty confident that that outing was within my athletic range. I see it going something like this. Eight weak pitches nowhere near the plate; two walks. One hard pitch (and by hard I mean maybe 40 mph) with no control beaning a batter; bases loaded. Then when I finally get a decent ball anywhere near the plate; grand slam homerun. Viola, I could have done that.



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