THE ROAR OF THE CROWD


I like baseball. I know, I said that last year in October during the World Series. I have liked baseball since my father placed a wood bat in my hands and told me to hit the ball he tossed to me, and then run like heck for first base. My father was a Yankee fan, and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio was his man. Listening to the games on the family Philco, I memorized the stats so I could impress him. I played sandlot ball whenever the neighborhood boys let me in, but I never made the first team. I had frequent dreams of hitting a home run with the bases loaded, but they were only pipe dreams. Living as we did, in many places across the country, we never actually went to a game together, but my Dad often fit one in when he could.

Alameda was a baseball town and turned out a few stars of the game. Joe Kaney, Bob Wuestoff, and Don “Ducky” Pries made baseball their careers, whether in playing, coaching or scouting.

October always gives me a thrill, when the best of the best struggle for supremacy. The crowd’s roar, the steely eyed pitcher working out what his pitch will be with the catcher, who is squatting like a silent toad behind home plate, giving pre-arranged finger signals to the pitcher. The tension builds. The moments during this silent exchange must be agonizing for the batter, wondering what his fate will be. This is a time for confidence, but does he feel confident? The pitch is a slider, and the batter swings and misses. Do that a couple more times and you’re out. There are so many pitches, and so hard to anticipate which one you will get.

Watching a game on TV can be nerve-wracking too. Your team is behind, it’s the top of the ninth, the bases are loaded, two outs, the batter, whom you don’t like very much anyway, has two strikes against him, the pitch is thrown, and he strikes out. It’s like a deflated balloon.

I remember visiting my parents during a World Series game many years ago, and the game was on TV. My mother, who was the least likely to sit and watch a game, was watching intently and making knowledgable remarks. I don’t suppose I should have been surprised, given my Dad’s interest in the game.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

12 thoughts on “THE ROAR OF THE CROWD”

  1. I like baseball, too – it’s the only sport I’ve ever really understood. I have friends in Vancouver who host minor league players from North and South America. They took me to a Vancouver Canadians game where I really enjoyed myself. It was a summer evening and everyone was in a good mood. It was a real family event – no bad behaviour at all.

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    1. How exciting! Baseball always seems to have well deserved reputations. I guess things were different in the old days. Players were older and perhaps not as well educated either. You can get excited if you know someone or have some connection with the team.

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  2. I know that indoor lawn bowling isn’t baseball, but it’s been my introduction to sport. Better late than never.
    I have seen baseball in action and the skill required to hit the ball with a round club is amazing. At least in cricket the bat is flat.

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    1. I have always thought lawn bowling would be fun I don’t really understand cricket though there is a group of Indian men who play in the local park on Saturdays. I don’t like
      American football, but I do like soccer. All G-kids played and now a Gr-g-daughter is doing well . Sport is good for a lot of things.

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  3. So. Here it is, the top of the 8th, no one on and no outs. It’s the 5th game of the World Series, and the Houston Astros are up 11-8 on the Dodgers. I should go to bed, but….

    Actually, this has been a great series. Last nght both teams were flat offensively, but tonight? They’re handing out homers like Halloween candy. I’m hoping the Astros win, to help the poor closer from last night get over his trauma.

    I never was much of a baseball fan. I grew up watching pro football and college football with my dad, and baseball seemed boring. Now, I’ve tired of the shenanigans around pro football, and a little baseball now and then isn’t bad. I don’t really sit down and watch games, but it’s a good sport to listen to on the radio. There’s lots of time for interesting commentary in between pitches. Baseball color commentators are the best — and some of them were darned colorful!

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      1. delightful picnic; so nice on the water in Alameda today. FAC We always stop and grab a donut and latte on the way. Looking forward to game tomorrow. Hope we don’t get Trick or Treaters, but I am prepared just in case.

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  4. Your description of the catcher is wonderful. Perfect! “Squatting like a silent toad.”
    Were I still teaching, I would put that on the white board and ask, ” Who does this look like?” You amaze me.

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    1. Awfully good game last night. See Shoreacres. I snuck out and finished it by myself. Jan’s Jim is big Dodger fam and they go to games, so naturally I threw my hat in the ring. But the Astros were better. As one announcer said: the LAD are better, but the Astro’s are fresher.

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  5. I, too, love the play-off season. My brothers taught me about baseball as we listened to games on the radio and they argued for their teams: the Cleveland Indians and the Yankees. I just liked being with them and listening to the game. My first husband made me a football fan, and I drifted away from baseball. Then I married Joel, who grew up nearby Busch Stadium, so now I live and die with the Cardinals. Your description of the drama of the pitcher-batter confrontation and the disappointment when your team loses in the ninth inning with the bases loaded are spot on.. Sometimes I feel like I can’t handle the tension and have to go walk around the house for a minute. Great post, Kayti.

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