The loser team

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Joel at On the Other Foot uses the occasion of a Moses Lake Pirates game -- "a kind of a Z-league semi-collegiate baseball team" -- to reminisce about his own baseball career:

I don't know if other guys my age remember these, but the league usually had a "loser team" with really patient coaches so that the kids who hadn't a hope of being any good on the field could still play. (Sort of a Bad News Bears without Tatum O'Neal and with less skill.) Not surprisingly, I was on that loser team every year. (Bernie Leingang and Pastor Sid Cox, if you ever Google your names and run across this, thank you for coaching us. You guys had patience that would make Job look like a crankhead.)

I know about the loser team. I was on the loser team for my one and only year of Little League. I was so bad I played right field -- when I played at all -- on the loser team.

My school had two teams. The boys on the good team started playing in 2nd grade. They formed another team in 3rd grade -- the Holland Hall Hawks.

Holland Hall's old campus at 2626 S. Birmingham Pl. ("Eight Acres") had a football field that became two diamonds during baseball season. The good team -- someone out there is bound to remember the team name -- played on the diamond at the north end. It was called Fenway Park because the back wall of the gymnasium dominated the view toward left field.

The Hawks had the south diamond, nearer to 27th St. It was known as Wrigley Field because of the ivy growing in the ditch on the far side beyond left field.

We never won a game. The last game of the season, we came close to beating a team from Paul Revere School, a school that didn't even have its own playing field. (The game was played at Heller Park.) Our manager, Doss Briggs's dad, promised us a soda if we won, and we had a lead for a time, but blew the lead in the late innings.

My grandmother, who later in life would be a devoted fan of the hapless Chicago Cubs of the 1970s, loved to watch us play. She laughed as we watched butterflies, picked dandelions, chewed on our mitts, threw the ball past each other, and reacted belatedly to any ball that came our way.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 11, 2008 10:44 PM.

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