It's the playoffs, damn it.
I skipped last night's meeting of Northampton County's Personnel and Finance Committees for something far more important - kids' baseball. In fact, I snuck out of the courthouse early so I'd be at Bethlehem Northwest Little League by 4:30 PM. I threw on my old baseball cap amd lumbered along in my battered old jeep, which is always full of spilled sunflower seeds and loose baseballs this time of year. Along the way, I stopped for more sunflower seeds, gatorade and some jerky. Hickory smoked. I embrace those childish things. To hell with Paul.
Would baseball's deadliest enemy - rain - ruin another game? Would one of the boys send one over the 200' fence? Would another make a diving catch? I pondered these weighty questions as I drove between the raindrops.
Amazingly, the baseball gods did stop the rain, but those grey skies told us this was just temporary. Everyone came early to do their warm ups and take a few mighty swings. We were ready to go by 5:45 PM, game time. But instead of seeing one playoff foe, we saw two.
The Fountain Hill Hoses and Lower Nazareth Diamondbacks both insisted they had the right to play us. Both had just played each other. Both were equally certain they had won the game, which involved all sorts of protests and appeals that are probably winding their way through the courts. Coaches put away their childish bats and went for their very adult cell phones and earpieces to talk to district commissioners and league presidents. Nobody would budge.
We tried staying loose. Some kids went out to toss the ball while a few others snuck to the concession stand for a hot dog and candy. Those are their power bars.
Finally, at 6:15 PM, some Apostle announced we would play The Fountain Hill Hoses. Our kids call them the Hos. They have absolutely no idea what they are saying. I think.
The kids rushed out into the field and started a pretty good game. But after five minutes, another Apostle made a dramatic appearance and stopped the game. He called the coaches and a puzzled ump to the mound, and began yelling at them all. He even yelled at our manager, whose only crime was to let the kids play. "This game is illegal."
"Can't the kids just play for fun?" asked a childish mother. The Apostle ignored her. Fun has nothing to do with it for some of these guys. It's instead about standings and bragging rights.
The baseball gods can't be happy about this.
Blogger's Note: Jeff Stoffa sent me the cool baseball pic. Each ward in Peanutville had its own baseball team, as did many businesses. A baseball field mural above the Call Chronicle building in Center Square (southwest corner) appeared with every World Series. Crowds would watch as figures would be placed and moved around the mural to see what was happening in each game. The Call Chronicle used teletype to get the updates.