The triplets and I were watching baseball the other day. It was a Phillies-Nationals game. I’m a big Nationals fan. It’s a long story for another time, but there you have it.
The pitcher was shaking off one pitch request from the catcher after another. One of the announcers discussed the finer skills of hitting and pitching: To succeed, the hitter pretty much has to guess correctly at what pitch the pitcher will throw and where. Meanwhile, the pitcher is trying to make a combination of his best pitch to the hitter’s weakest area of the strike zone, all while mixing it up enough that the hitter doesn’t see it coming.
As I sat there shaking off requests from my kids – no, we aren’t going outside; we are watching baseball – I got to thinking.
Because just about the time I think I’ve figured these kids out well enough to strike through 3 hours while avoiding a grand tantrum the wind shifts towards the outfield. Suddenly, what would have been a routine fly yesterday goes yard and crowd goes wild. To avoid this, I have to keep changing things up, like our proverbial pitcher. My “out” pitch has changed over the last 18 months. For a while it was a tunnel, then it was just going outside. Now, my “fastball” is trips in the train. It’s a chance for me to get outside and get some exercise. And even though we are all together, it allows me some time inside my own head.
But like our pitcher, I have to be careful not to over use it. You want to keep the “out” pitch fresh. If you throw it every single time, hitters come to expect it; they T(oddler) off on it. Like any good pitcher, you have to keep the opponent off balance.
On the other side, they are constantly mixing it up as well. Sometimes they go through an afternoon without a peep – taking whatever pitch I throw like a perfectly patient hitter. And then suddenly, they are swinging for the fences on every pitch I give them – fighting and biting and stealing.
That is the first 18 months, at any rate. Sometime over the last 6 or so months I’ve been retired to the dugout. Boy, that was a short career.
If you liked Part I, check in next week for Part II. If you thought Part I was a loser, well, its baseball, you can’t win them all. Check in next week and hope for better results.