Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sunday Punch: Hey, Weekend Warriors, Get a Wiff of This!

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sunday Punch: Hey, Weekend Warriors, Get a Wiff of This!

Article excerpt

Were it not for extenuating circumstances, it would have been another Sunday at the ballpark. A scribe would have hunkered down for a paralyzing 3 1/2 hours of major-league baseball between two teams going absolutely nowhere.

Cheeseburger No. 167 would have been pounding its way down the digestive track. Pregame honoree number 6 billion would have been making small talk with Fredbird. What other type of talk does one make with a 7-foot female Cardinal?

The smell of soft pretzels would have tickled the nose. Loud rock music would have been encircling the Bud Bowl, making it impossible to make, or even fake, conversation. Nuclear testing makes less noise.

All the usual sights and sounds would have been occupying the senses. But, as stated, there are extenuating circumstances. Baseball, such as the type the Cardinals were playing, is over for 1994.

Thus, a scribe is home on Sunday, vulnerable to the landscaping whims and housekeeping fantasies of his mate, susceptible to the demands and distractions of his children, available for . . . gulp! . . . family picnics and trips to the mall.

A dead man, if you will.

But, when the rakes are set aside, the coloring books sealed and the gutters cleaned, he also is available for something else - Wiffleball. It is a pastime that knows no labor problems, an opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, a vehicle to introduce three young sons to the joys of competition and fair play.

A chance to get even.

The bases are staked out - the porch steps are first, sprinkler head is second, tree is third and Mom's tennis shoe is home. Rules are discussed, with an emphasis on one particular regulation, everyone will get a turn to bat.

The scribe takes the ball and the game begins.

First up, 3-year-old. Uses 10-ounce bat shaped like an upside-down bowling pin. Likes to chop down on the ball - literally. Has good speed from first to third, or vice versa. Batter up!

"All right, Honey. Now put it in there nice and easy for him," the home-plate umpire says.

First pitch, cut fastball. Soup of the day. Baby swiss. Fossil fuel.

Strike one. "What are you doing? He can't hit that," ump says.

"Oh yeah, sorry," scribe answers.

Second pitch, curveball. Uncle Charlie. Chief Bender. Vitamin C.

Strike two. "Will you please knock it off?" ump says. "He's only 3."

Third pitch, changeup. Last call. Lights out. Ta-ta toddler.

"You're out. Next!" scribe yells, with not a hint of remorse.

Time out. Batter is crying, making a fuss, threatening to withdraw scribe's "best friend" status and toy-sharing privileges.

Scribe is unimpressed, and says: "Stop acting like a 3-year-old."

Batter returns to dugout and has a seat on the swing set.

Next up, 5-year-old. Uses slightly thinner bat with longer barrel. Free swinger. Likes the ball inside. Occasional power.

"All right now, Honey. …

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