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Mar 17 2000: Spring Training Day Five – Day Without Baseball #2

us on the beachSo, as mentioned above, we couldn’t get Braves tickets. And as with the Red Sox game we missd,the Yanks creamed ’em (this time like 24 to 7 or something). Apparently, the Braves had a split squad day, and sent all their rookies to Legends Field. Steinbrenner reportedly went “ballistic” over the dis, but hey, the poor Braves. Smoltz is out for the year with a torn elbow, and they’re still smarting from the four game sweep in October that had Yankee fans doing the “tomahawk chop” with brooms at Yankee Stadium. Ouch.

Instead, we slept late (aaaaaah! mmmmm! the luxury…) and then went to Clearwater Beach, where the sand is pure white soft, and the water is, as the name would imply, clear. I brought my glove with me, and one of our still-not-yet-autographed Yankee baseballs. (Oops, rewind–I forgot to mention at the beginning of the week I finally got a baseball glove. We had to make several trips to Wal-Mart with my Dad to get things for the house, lightbulbs, a frying pan, fire extinguisher, sun block, etc…. and one day while in there I noticed last year’s gloves on “Clearance” sale. And there was one small enough for me–in fact, all they had left were small gloves and lefty gloves. So Dad bought me one for only $14!) corwin and I wanted to play catch, I think almost to see if we could. We had been watching the Yanks practice last night in Sarasota, and I described to him earlier in the week seeing Jeter and Knoblauch playing a game of long toss in which they tried not to move at all. Knobby could hold his glove in the middle of his chest, and Jeter could toss it from quite far away (Knoblauch standing sort of near the plate and Jeter way beyond third base along the left field foul line) right into Knoblauch’s glove. Knoblauch could do the same, which left us wondering why they weren’t working on short toss, i.e. from second base to first, which is what Chuck seems to have trouble with…

Anyway, with only one glove, and a hard baseball, we could only stand about thirty yards apart at most, and toss. I discovered I catch better (with the glove on) across my body on the right than I do on the left, where I have trouble with depth perception. When corwin was wearing the glove, I caught like an egg toss I remember seeing once, with soft hands, easing the ball down out of the air. I had to or it would sting like the dickens on my bare palms! I discovered I could throw left or right at that distance, which was kind of weird to discover. corwin didn’t even notice when I threw with my left until I pointed it out.

We would go for sometimes eight or nine catches in a row before one of us would throw the ball away, or miss a catch and go running in the sand for it. “They make it look so easy,” corwin said at one point. But I didn’t actually feel like we sucked at it. Considering that was the first time in twenty years that I caught a ball in a glove, or threw one to be caught, I was pretty pleased with the fact that I am a lot better at it now than I was when I was twelve. Years of martial arts has improved eye-hand coordination, and my arm is stronger. In fact, my arm didn’t even hurt. (Typing all these journal entries, that’s what hurts my arm…)

So the day without baseball wasn’t entirely without baseball. That night we had dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant in town (Mise En Place), and had another extremely delicious meal that couldn’t be beat. It was hard to believe that our last day of baseball was coming up–in fact, we weren’t even thinking of it at all as we rolled home giddy with pleasure and happiness.

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