How to Play Family Baseball: An Instructional Guide

Jul 29 2011

It came down to Girls vs. Boys at the neighborhood baseball game challenge last weekend.  I had a full battery of physically functional kids at the time, so you’ll see my oldest boy sans-cast… ah, the good old days, way back last Saturday…

Oh, yeah, baby!  We girls can bring it.

You don’t even KNOW what yer in fer, boys.  Even if you do have a veritable Baseball Legend like my husband, Greg, on your team.

Yep.  That’s Greggy, circa 1983 or so, smack dab in the middle of his Little League career.  It’s far and away my favorite childhood picture of him.  If I could, I’d leap right back in time and straight into this photo, just so I could give Greg a little side-squeeze.  He’d undoubtedly wonder why the old mom-looking stranger-lady is hugging him.  But too bad.  He’s just so darn cute.

I’ve convinced Greg to guest post tomorrow on his prolific baseball career and how he came to the all-important decision to hang up his large, black calculator watch and call it a day.  The way sports stars decide how and when to retire is always a fascinating bit o’ story-time.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about neighborhood baseball.

See, our friend Mitchell turned 10 years old a while back.  Go, Mitchell!

And, for his birthday party, Mr. Mitch decided that a neighborhood baseball game was just the ticket.

So we all grabbed our hats, and our… well, our hats, since we don’t really own any baseball gear other than my husband’s retired little league mitt (proudly donned by Ian)… and we trooped out to our local baseball diamond for a friendly an all-out, THIS-IS-WAR game of gender-divided baseball.

Here’s how it worked.

  1. No one knew what they were doing except Mitchell.  And maybe a couple of the dads, who mostly (and heroically) kept their mouths shut.
  2. We took the rules of baseball and we smashed ’em.  We stomped on ’em.  We ripped ’em to pieces.
  3. We realized that our pitchers pretty much couldn’t pitch, so we decided that there were no strikes and no walks.  Everyone was forced to swing at every pitch… even if you had to run to get to the ball.
  4. Mitchell completely ruined pitching for everyone else because he’s a good pitcher.  The show-off.  Sheesh.  What is this?  Your birthday or something?

I, of course, was spectacular.  I’m sure you’re not surprised.

I got right out there with my bat and heckled my 11-year-old son who was pitching to me.

And then, because it was just too easy with that tiny, skinny bat, I switched it up with a gigantic, orange, plastic bat.

But not because I couldn’t hit the ball with the regular bat.  I just wanted to make the little kids feel better.

I showed ’em a little-known, hit-the-ball-overhand move…

…’cause I think it’s important to teach new things to my kids.

And then, so the little kids would know they weren’t alone, I hit the ball (yep – I HIT that ball), um, off of a T.

Just a few tips for you newbies out there:  1)  When you’re hitting off of a T, you should concentrate really, really hard.  2)  Sticking your tongue out helps.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to show you all of that, because I’m pretty sure the professional baseball offers are going to start rolling in.  I feel bad that I’m so busy, and I’ll have to turn them all down.  It’s going to be such a disappointment to the big leagues.

Now, of course the girls BROUGHT it to the game.

And just because I mostly have pictures of us standing in the outfield

while the boys were on base

doesn’t mean we spent most of the game there.

Right, ladies?

Right!

OK.  Fine.

The boys squashed us.

Good thing we weren’t keeping score.

(I was totally keeping score.  It was a blow-out.)

Frankly, I blame Aden for fraternizing with the enemy.

It’s like she thought we were all being friendly or something.  Don’t worry; I busted her later for this irreverent behavior. (No, I didn’t.)

In good news, no one got bashed in the face with a bat or a ball, despite some seriously strong attempts to do so.

Hey — given our family injury stats of late, I think you’ll agree that an accident-free game lands somewhere in the realm of the miraculous!

And we passed on a very important family tradition to our kids in the process.  Namely, proper techniques and strategies for gathering four-leaf-clovers during your stint as an outfielder.

Based on his illustrious baseball career, Greg instructed the littles, and they took to four-leaf clover harvesting… well, about like you’d expect.  They were brilliant.

Thanks, Mitchell, for one of the most fabulous and fun kids’ parties we’ve ever attended.

Happy Birthday!