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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Play Ball!

Throughout the Lehigh Valley, most little leagues finally got underway this weekend. At Northwest Bethlehem, where my grandson Dat plays, opening day is always a big deal. Wailing sirens from firetrucks herald a procession of colorfully-uniformed ballplayers as they make their annual pilgrimage from Buchannan Elementary to baseball diamonds, two blocks away. This year, the girls' softball teams are wearing differently colored socks, apparently the latest fashion rage. The boys' more subdued uniforms looked very crisp and clean, the last time they'll ever look like that.

Play ball!

Sluggers were greeted on the diamond by Mayor John Callahan (a self-described former Northwest baseball rat) and city council members Eric Evans and Willie Reynolds. Putting politics aside for another day, these three Amigos regaled young athletes with a stirring, if slightly off-key, rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." That was followed by Callahan's ceremonial first pitch, which was actually a pretty good fast ball that blazed right into Evans' mitt.

Play ball!

Smoke curled from a concession stand, where the alluring aroma of hot dogs, burgers and fries led to long lines of moms, dads, brothers, sisters and the occasional old fart. One moment, they'd all be roasting and complaining about the heat, but whenever the wind kicked up, sweatshirts were unfurled and everyone wondered why it was so damn cold.

Play ball!

Three 10 year-olds, including Dat, nervously awaited their debut in the majors, wondering if they could really hang with bigger 12 year-olds. They got their answer as soon as the first ball was thrown. As lead-off hitter for the Braves, Dat nailed the very first pitch thrown by Phillies' hurler Vinnie, and the ball screamed right over second base as he ran for first. Safe! The very next hitter, my grandson's 10 year-old best friend Justin, sent one deep into a gap in right field, as Dat rounded the bases and slid into home in a cloud of dust, beating the throw to the catcher.

Who Dat? Safe!

Not to be denied, the Phillies roared back with great hitting, and the lead went back and forth over six exciting innings. In the end, youth and speed bowed to experience and strength. The Mighty Braves lost their season opener to the Fightin' Phils, 6-5. But they will meet again. This isn't over.

Play ball!

16 comments:

michael molovinsky said...

credit to callahan, for making the opening day special for the boys.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It was a nice gesture and, to his credit, he did not mind a bit when someone let all the air out of his tires and he had to walk home.

All kidding aside, he does it every year, and the kids do appreciate it. He also coaches at North Central.

I consider Charlie a much better fit in Congress, but they are both good men.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have to get your political digs in. Gotta love it.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to explain to your "grandson", he is not really your grandson?

Why the deception?

Bernie O'Hare said...

He is not biologially related to me in any way, but he is my grandson and in his eyes, I am his grandfather. That's all that matters. You can spew all the venom you want.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Of course you have to get your political digs in."

If I wanted to take a shot at Callahan, I'd leave him out of the story completely. That would be a shot. But I noted his presence in a positice way. Yes, I teased him in a comment while noting that he coaches and is a good person.

At the same time, my friend Rich Wilkins is calling Dent a "liar" on his blog.

I am giving Callahan credit where credit is due.

Anonymous said...

"When are you going to explain to your "grandson", he is not really your grandson?

Why the deception?"

why the obsession. get a life, you cretin.

and love the fact that callahan brings the heat...

Anonymous said...

Get a life you cretin is right.

Gotta love opening day Bernie, thanks for the post and good luck to Dat this season!

Anonymous said...

sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! I love the excitement of opening day.

How 'bout those Phillies (the real ones)!

Geoff

Bernie O'Hare said...

They play again tonight, if it does not rain. My posting drops off this time of year.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"How 'bout those Phillies (the real ones)!"

I hope I get to see them this year.

Anonymous said...

"They play again tonight, if it does not rain. My posting drops off this time of year."

Looks like there will be a game tonight. Enjoy it. And it's good to get out and enjoy the games. We'll manage to find ways to malign gov't and politicians.

Geoff

Bernie O'Hare said...

Braves won a close one tonight, 11 - 9. Dat did some relief pitching, but he got in trouble and had to be yanked.

Rising Sun said...

Bernie, at risk of sounding overly negative on a great post (and I do mean that), I'll just say that I'm calling Charlie on specific political statements. I'm not out to bash his personal reputation anymore than you want to hammer Callahan's. I don't know any reason to do so.

Anonymous said...

I think someone needs some Phillies and Eagles gear. Is that a COWBOYS helmet. My god man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What can I say? He no longer likes the Cowboys. He likes New Orleans.

Frontrunner.