SUBURBIA, USA – Up here, and really ’round anywhere where there’s kids, sleeping in means you don’t see a time before 7AM and you’re super happy about it. Today I won’t be sleeping in either, but will be lacking a spring in my step due to a late night out at my first Yankee Game this season (a win… naturally).
Last weekend, I attended my first T-Ball game… EVER. The big mini-Cookie just turned four and to my glee, is old enough to play T-Ball. I have no idea why no one hipped me to the fact that four and five year-olds playing T-Ball may be the funniest thing on the planet. And before you start moaning and groaning at the thought of video of my kid playing T-Ball – don’t worry… it’s not happening. One kid video/week is enough on this site (thanks West Coast Craig; aka “KEEP YOUR ELBOW UP!” Craig). And not only did I forget the video camera, but I also forgot a glove for the kid! Did I forget to astutely put vodka in my water bottle? No. Priorities people. It was dang COLD out there.
Speaking of chilly, I was hoping it wouldn’t be nippy at the Yankee game, but it was. That familiar chill got me thinking about the aforementioned day with Big Mini-Cookie and how his game tied in with the big boys: ‘How does the foundation for baseball, the humble game of T-Ball, stack up against the big boy of Major League Baseball?’ Let’s take a looksie:
BATS: T-BALL bats are made of this really heavy rubber. I’m guessin’ it’s to make the ball go farther or so it dampers the blow when kids drop it on their foot. MAJOR LEAGUE bats are made of good old wood. Or… wood hollowed a bit and corked.
ADVANTAGE: BASEBALL. It’s much more fun when the likes of a John Lackey or Roger Clemens can be impailed any moment by a flying shard of splintered lumber.
BALLS: T-BALL balls are made of a hard(ish) rubber. Again, playing to the hitting. More springy and have more play. MAJOR LEAGUE balls are made of rubber/cork center wrapped in yarn, covered in leather. Then they are scuffed and aged with some special mud before they can become game balls.
ADVANTAGE: T-BALL balls. As in life, the younger, more springy balls are much more fun to play with.
FIELD/GROUNDSKEEPING: A T-BALL field is a nightmare. It’s a tiny diamond that seems pretty good for popping around on a mountain bike. Did I mention all the DIRT swirling around that messed up my freshly-showered hair (I only get to shampoo twice a week)! A MAJOR LEAGUE field has the most perfectly green, manicured outfield and the diamond is perfectly flat and groomed.
ADVANTAGE: MAJOR LEAGUE. Every suburban man covets the fine lawn that is the outfield. Me? What I wouldn’tve given for that embarrassing YMCA Yankee Grounds Crew at that T-Ball field… and I HATE that garbage. Sheesh. I’d even bring the music, though. Just make the dust bowl STOP. I’m not a piece of breaded chicken!!!
BASERUNNING: T-BALL base running involves little kids trying to remember which base is which and actually touching it. MAJOR LEAGUE base running involves professional players missing bases, dumb players sliding into first, players missing base-bags entirely and fast players running with over-sized Great Gazoo helmets (itself a feat in physics).
ADVANTAGE: TIE. Both can be pretty hilarious.
FIELDING: T-BALL players (the new ones, at least) will ALL run for EVERY SINGLE BALL. It honestly looks like a football game with arms and legs everywhere and the ball squirting out and no one knowing where it is. Luckily, no one can really make an accurate throw to the correct base, so outs are ever really given up. MAJOR LEAGUE fielding is often poetry in motion. The diving catches that destroy the likes of Mike Cameron’s not-so-pretty face, the You’re Not Paying Me Enough To Bust My Ass lack of hustle by Manny Ramirez, or the fine pop-fly catching of Luis Castillo (which was played on the Jumbotron at Yankee Stadium last night – CLASSIC!) Uh… forget what I said about MLB fielding.
ADVANTAGE: T-BALL because there’s nothing like seeing a whole lotta HUSTLE and getting to actually see baseball AND football at the same time. A run! … And touchdown!
HOME RUN BRAVADO: T-BALL involves some good home run bravado. For example, my kid smacked one into the outfield (barely) and instead of taking one base, decided to round all of them. A preemptive home run. I say, if no one stopped him; it was his for the taking. MAJOR LEAGUE players casually toss the bat, admire their work and then proceed with a YEAH… MY BAT IS THAT BIG! kinda jog around the bags.
ADVANTAGE: MAJOR LEAGUE. I never tire of seeing Manny casually toss the bat away. Even better, I love watching a player admire the handiwork only for the ball to fall just short and be an out and make the swaggery jog of shame back to the dugout.
Clearly Manny will have to run a lot faster if he plays cricket.
UMPING/COACHING: In T-BALL there are no strikes to call and no close calls at the bags because there are no outs. The umps are actually the coaches, who are on the field during play. MAJOR LEAGUE umps can’t see a THING and complain because their fat, overpaid asses have to stand out in a field for too long because the ‘players are taking too long to play the game.’ Hmm… Was someone getting hungry for their midnight snack?
ADVANTAGE:T-BALL. The stakes (and small fries) are small and the calls are always right… No one every gets pissed-off.
FOOD AND DRINK: At T-BALL, the parents of the group that played the hour before us had a whole box of leftover Dunkin’ Donuts they donated to our crew. Very nice. Sure… IF they brought some damn coffee on that freezing & windy day it woulda been nicer… But, oh well. At a MAJOR LEAGUE game, you can get whatever you like to eat or drink, even cotton candy (Angry Ward’s favorite ball-time fare). As long as you’re willing to take out a 2nd mortgage on your house, you can eat and drink like a King.
Herve… Dead. Minis… Dead. What a Shame.
ADVANTAGE: MAJOR LEAGUE baseball. I know… seems improbable, but if you score tickets to the game (as I did), you can eat and drink your game companion into the poor house. Watching their face drop at the Hamiltons flying out of their wallet with each round means you have fun as you get a buzz. And, if your team is tanking (Mets fans)… you can always drown your sorrows.
That’s it for me. No T-BALL this weekend, but I’ve got my first Major League game of the year under my belt. Batter up!
Yankees Suck, in a SHOCKING Open Letter, tomorrow.