A Day at the Ballpark

T-ball Little League, and other joys of life

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: April 29, 2007

A Day at the Ballpark

Orale, mi Gente! Monday morning, and I just happened to take a rare day off from work to do other work. You know, handling things that you never have time to do during the week, then copping an attitude because almost everything is closed on the weekend.

...Damn! Can't wait for retirement! Just 6 more years!....

On this rare day off, while I'm sipping my coffee and waiting for everything to open up (usually by 9am), I glance through LatinoLA , and I see that my home~boy Al Carlos Hernandez has put forth another outstanding Brown Man's commentary on how our world turns.

This time, life at the DMV. Te aventatis, Al! We've all been there, homie!

I start to think about other aspects of life that can only be described through Brown eyes here on LatinoLA.com. I'm sure the archives of stories that sit in the vaults of Mr. De la Pena are priceless history files of modern day Aztlan that will someday inspire research, books, poems, and movies.

The commentaries are by far the most entertaining, because they draw the most smiles and feelings of "I know, huh?". It takes a lot of stress off our backs when we read that somebody else "steps in it" once in awhile.

I know I've done commentaries about life at the Laundromat and Court, Al Carlos has tickled us with his tales about parking, driving, working, dressing and knowing how to act & get along while being middle aged in the 'hood. Maria Reyna has blessed us with the Brown woman's appreciation of Aztlan, and Kat Avila simply OWNS the shopping world for beautiful Gente brown..

This time, I thought I'd dabble on the Brown side from a kid's point of view.

...Hope I don't get shot! Watcha...

One of the most time honored social activities for kids in Americana for almost a century has been Little League.

Little kids playing the American pastime of baseball. A social activity for kids and their familes...I think...

I say "I think", because there's always somebody who just blows it for everybody else, takes the fun out of it for everybody else, and he's usually the one who should be there for his kid instead of himself...

Yep! You guessed it! The "TV armchair quarterback & jock", who hopes his kid's athletic ability will make HIM look good. Never mind that his receding hairline, potbelly and pear shape mask his magnificent major league athletic abilities and conquests in the man's world of sports in his younger day. (an unknown secret that he's dying to let out)

Never mind that despite never playing sports himself past his pre-adolescent years, he KNOWS everything, and wears his USC & UCLA sweatshirts and baseball caps everywhere he goes (Never attended either college!). His idea of a great time is sitting down in front of the TV drinking beer, and watching sports for HOURS.

...Sorry, everybody....this person sometimes is also known as "Dad".

Recently, I went to my grandson's T-ball little League game. Being that he's only 4 and half, and his Dad's the coach, I expected some fun and entertaining smiles as 4 , 5, and 6 year olds do everything 4, 5 and 6 year old boys do when learning something new with new friends and in public.

Clumsy, inexperienced, easily distracted, energetic, and looking sharp in their little uniforms that all seemed to big, the buzz word was "cute" in the stands for most of us.Some of these little guys looked barely out of pampers.

Unfortunately, for a couple of embarrassed kids & their moms, you would have thought it was the final game of the World Series.

Sadly, some of these dads , and maybe even a couple of grand dads, showed up intoxicated. Smelling like beer, wearing baseball caps & sunglasses, and acting ever so aggressive with each other, I figured they must have took a break from their TV games to come compete with other idiots of their "league".

One guy in particular brought me very close to asking him to leave. Only because of my wife's pinching me and her sending me to the snack bar a few times did this fellow escape my ire.

I'm sure his son, barely 5 years old, was hoping this fool would leave, too. His embarrassed wife & daughter simply acted like they didn't know him.

He was the loudest in the stands. Even from the snack bar you could hear him.

"C'mon, babe! Keep your eye on the ball! Good swing! Let's hustle up out there! Run! Watch the pitch! Good eye! Let's go now! C'mon babe! Whoo~hoo!", while clapping his hands non stop.

God, but a couple of us wanted to choke him out and shut him up...

His poor child, let's call him "Elijah", didn't have a chance, and even his team mates smiled at him in sympathy after a while, as his dad continued to act like a major league coach while acting the major league fool front of everybody. Even in 90 degree heat, this guy refused to take off his L.A. Raider tanker jacket and USC baseball cap.

"C'mon, Elijah! Get ready! Show 'em what I taught you babe!"...kid running out onto the field, at every change of inning.

"C'mon, Elijah! You should have hit that one over the fence!"...kid striking out.

"C'mon, Elijah! You could have hit that farther!"...kid hitting off a tee.

"C'mon Elijah! YOU should have done that!"...kid sitting in the dugout, after a team mate got a single.

"Elijah! Get ready! Pay attention! C'mon! Keep your eyes open!"...kid just standing in the outfield, not doing anything in particular.

"C'mon ump! He was safe by a mile! Give him a break! What's wrong with you? How did you get the job?"...kid hits a grounder and gets thrown out at first.

Sheesh! I, along with a couple of others, took solace by moving to the opposing team's stands away from this clown for the remainder of the game. He never got it, either.

Oddly enough, I remembered similar characters from my youth, and I think about the very talented team mates I had that could have made it to the majors had their fathers not embarrassed them, so this wasn't a new phenomena.

After the game, it was up to Mom to feed the kid, collect him from the group, and drive him home, as dad hooked up with other dads, and they were going to a local sports bar to "watch the game".

Game over, the kid no longer mattered, other than to be reminded that "You need more practice, mijo! Listen to your coach", as he walked away with the fellas.

Walking back to the car with my arms full of folding chairs, small umbrellas, and half eaten bags of popcorn, I could see my Lady smiling at me as she walked with the other moms & grand moms, noticing that I wasn't following the crowd to a bar.

Getting into the car, she asks, "So...what did you think of the game?".

"It was cute, but who won?" I ask, "Nobody seemed to be keeping score, and I was just getting a kick out of watching the little guys play".

"Everybody won, baby. Its T-ball. All the kids get a chance to play. The score isn't important right now. The kids are just learning," she says with smile. Then she leans over and kisses me on the cheek.

"What's that for?" I ask, appreciating the kiss.

"For being more into music than sports!" She smiles.

Like I've always said...life in the Land of 1000 Dances!

We drove home talking about everything EXCEPT sports...while listening to beautiful music together!

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