In the fairy-tale version of this story, I would have hit an epic home run

Photo Jun 08, 7 50 15 PM

That previous post really set the stage for an exciting, emotional, underdog-makes-good kind of ending, didn’t it? The shrimpy, non-baseball-playing kid scarred from his less-than-enjoyable Little League experience steps to the plate more than three decades later and belts one over the fence.

And our fairy-tale ending would have been even more dramatic if, on the night of that recent home-run derby, our hero was the eighth batter, and the seven other batters who went before him — all of whom had substantially more baseball-playing experience — failed to hit a single home run.

Ten swings each. Seventy swings total. Zero home runs.

And now let’s imagine our hero stepping to the plate under the piercing gaze of dozens of onlookers, to include his own children, both of whose teams he coaches, and both of whom believe he knows something about hitting a ball … and let’s watch him take 8 of his 10 swings without producing a single home run himself.

But it’s OK … because no one really expected him to put one out. In fact, they’d probably have been stunned if, on his second to last pitch, he swung the bat … and connected … and drove one straightaway to deep center field … and planted the ball on the far side of the fence. I can only imagine how incredible that moment would have been … and in my imagination, that incredible moment would have looked like this:

Wha wha WHAT? Hold on just a minute. Let’s see that again in slo-mo. (Don’t worry; I’m not going to drag it out or make it seem more grandiose than it really was):

Yes, my friends, fairy tales can come true … it can happen to you … and all you need to do is practice … and believe in yourself … and suck down a couple of highly potent Cabo Wabo margaritas shortly before your turn at bat.

I was the first guy to hit a home run at the home-run derby. That really happened. And for a little while, I got to strut around like the cock of the walk while men, women and children congratulated me and high-fived me and generally marveled at my overall awesomeness.

And my kids had a totally killer “That’s my Dad” moment that made me feel like a hero.

In conclusion:

Therapy to recover from childhood scars: $120 per hour.
Easton Hammer baseball bat: $49.99.

I just saved a ton of money on therapy.

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Posted in Baseball, Life | 14 Responses

Take Me Out to the Therapist… Take Me Out to the Shrink…

The game of baseball has become a major part of my family’s life … which, based on the following photo, should come as a surprise to no one. I mean, let’s face it: When your background includes playing on a team of this caliber, your family is pretty much guaranteed a baseball-rich life:


I’ll point myself out in a moment, but first: How ’bout that coach, huh? He makes Morris Buttermaker look like Anthony Robbins. Of course, in his defense: Look at the collection of misfits he had to work with. I would suggest that his lack of enthusiasm was well justified.

And now, if you look closely, you’ll notice a teensy, tiny, action-figure-sized lad tucked amongst all those regular-sized boys:

Putting the "Little" in "Little League."

Let’s zoom in, shall we?

SS = Shrimpstop

Yes, as if playing on a team whose name was “Topeka” and whose uniform included jeans wasn’t bad enough, I rounded out my ensemble with that highly regarded athletic shoe known as the “brown loafer.” Perfect.

All of this to say: I was not much of a ballplayer as a child. Back in those days, I didn’t follow the Red Sox — or any other team for that matter — and, as such, I didn’t much care about participating in the sport … which I’m sure explains my complete and utter lack of a single exciting or glorious (or even marginally pleasant) memory of my Little League years.

Of course, the irony in all of this is that, later in life, I became a huge baseball fan, spawned a son who is completely taken with the sport, and have now coached his teams for the past six seasons.

And speaking of my son: How old do you think I am in that photo above? Six? Seven, perhaps? No, I’m NINE. Nine years old. I was the first-ever human chihuahua. This, meanwhile, is my 9-year-old son:

Zan winds up
Zan delivers
Zan is way cooler than me

So, yeah … he’s a bit more awesome than I was at his age.

Of course, when my son looks at me, he doesn’t see that little pipsqueak up there in the jeans and the doll-sized brown loafers; he sees Coach Daddy, the Baseball Guru who has helped shape him into what, for his age, could accurately be described as an above-average player.

And now Coach Daddy has gone and done something potentially stupid that could expose me for the charlatan I am.

While recently attending the annual Little League gala, I was talking to the other guy with whom I coached Zan’s team this spring. During our conversation, he mentioned that he did not yet have a partner for the league’s upcoming Moms & Dads Home-Run Derby.

“Can you hit?” he asked me.

“You don’t have a partner yet?” I replied, surprised that he hadn’t already teamed up with one of the other dads. “I’ll totally do that with you, dude.”

He walked over to the signup book, placed our names on the list, and then returned to where I was standing. “You never answered my question,” he said.

“I know, right?”

I left it at that. Why ruin his night and tell him that he just paired himself with the miniature kid from that barn-burning 1979 Topeka team?

And so, this Saturday, in a desperate bid to heal some of the wounds from my childhood, I will be stepping up to the plate with a bat in my hand and will quite possibly humiliate myself to death in front of a crowd of people who for three seasons now have somehow been tricked into believing I’m a half-decent baseball coach. Also on hand will be many of the players I’ve coached and hope to continue coaching … most notably my son. I’m guessing they, and he, will have less interest in taking baseball tips from a guy who can’t actually, you know, hit a baseball, right?

I can’t decide if my time between now and this weekend would be better spent taking batting practice or searching my insurance plan for a mental-health provider who can help coax me out of the fetal position on Sunday.

Yes, I promise to post a full report … no matter how tragic the outcome may be. Because why relive the horror of my youth within the privacy of my own little world when I can instead share my humiliation with the Internet?

Wish me luck.

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Posted in Baseball, Life | 6 Responses

No, I don’t miss this view at all. Why do you ask? *weep*

No, I don't miss this view at all. Why do you ask? *weep*
Click the image above to view full-size photo.

And as I stood there barefoot with a Corona in one hand and my iPhone in the other (because you can take pictures like this with a phone now; welcome to The Future), I thought to myself… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo | 7 Responses

Believe it or not, Hallmark passed on this one


Jenny, a.k.a. The Bloggess, recently wrote a post that contained a number of Valentine’s Day-card suggestions. This is not one of them … but she did write this phrase elsewhere within that same post, and I feel it really captures the sentiment of this special occasion:

For fuck's sake, it's just Valentine's Day! Come on.

In related news: Fifteen years ago today, I asked Wonder Woman to marry me. Tonight, she’ll mark the occasion by playing Bunco with a group of fellow moms who apparently felt Bunco Night just COULD. NOT. WAIT. (Worth noting: I have no idea what the fuck Bunco is. I’m picturing a card game that involves riding a mechanical bull? Maybe?)

Whatever the case, I’m totally cool with it. A cold, snowy night in mid-February doesn’t exactly scream “romance” anyway. I’d rather make up for it on Cinco de Mayo. After all, what goes better with love than tequila, am I right?

Actually, come to think of it, what goes better with anything than tequila?

I believe I’ve made my point.

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Posted in Life, Marriage | 5 Responses

Exciting news: I am now the millionaire owner of a Major League Baseball school whose employee roster includes Michael Cudlitz, star of the TNT cop-drama “SouthLAnd.”

I saw a tweet the other day from Michael Cudlitz in which he reminded his followers that the season premiere of “SouthLAnd” airs tonight. And as I read that tweet, it occurred to me that I once participated in a promotional push for the show by posting a blog entry that coincided with the show’s spring-2010 season premiere.

And for some reason, I decided to look for that post on Google … which is how I stumbled upon this:

The Google search that helped me discover I'm a millionaire

The Google search that made me a millionaire

Whaaaa…? Well, we’re going to have to click on that, now, aren’t we? Let’s see where it goes.

"SouthLAnd" star Michael Cudlitz, Employee #1 at The Daddy Scratches School

Turns out that, when he isn’t busy shooting scenes in Los Angeles, Cudlitz works at my school here in Philadelphia. Yeah, he’s the lunch lady. Keeps fighting with me about the hairnet, but the kids seem to like him, so I keep him around.

But wait, it gets better. Let’s dig deeper and check out The Daddy Scratches School’s company profile, shall we?

The Daddy Scratches School

OK, just the mere fact that I somehow ended up with a ZoomInfo (who…?) listing for The Daddy Scratches School is awesome enough … and it’s a major bonus that my company’s description is “Your front-row seat to my nervous breakdown” … but guys: My school is located at the Philadelphia Phillies’ baseball stadium, and it rakes in between $1 million and $5 million per year! At last, my ship has come in!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a busy afternoon. Cudlitz and I need to go over next week’s lunch menu … and then we’re taking batting practice on the field. Yeah, Hamels is pitching. After that, I’m off to the bank with this suitcase full of cash.

Yes, boys and girls, being headmaster of The Daddy Scratches School is a pretty sweet gig. In fact, it almost seems too good to be true.

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Posted in Life, TV | 6 Responses