I spent most of Mother’s Day weekend umpiring 10 games of 13U tournament baseball in the cold and rain for two sunless days.
So many moms were there, although all you could see were their faces, their bodies wrapped in blankets like burritos. Instead of breakfast in bed or a fancy brunch, it was cold Egg McMuffins in the bleachers. That these for-profit, money-hungry tournament companies would trespass on the holiest of days for our mothers no longer surprises me.
Every mom I asked said they were thrilled to spend Mother’s Day watching their son try to play baseball in almost Bears-like weather. They told me that their kids would only be this age once so they need to be here.
Baloney. Travel baseball tournaments start in late March and there are tournaments every single weekend in April, May, June and July. So you’re telling me that despite having four-plus months, you can’t go one weekend without a tournament, setting aside all other plans and treating mothers as queens for the day? That’s more baloney.
One thing that did stick with me like a baloney sandwich on the roof of my mouth was the statement “They will only be this age once.” By the time this column is published, some high school seniors will have already played their last game. Others will turn in their uniforms today or this weekend. The ride from tee ball to varsity does fly by and those who have experienced the phenomenon will be happy to remind you.
So while I can appreciate all the mothers who love watching their sons play, I also feel for the majority of seniors who are now done playing competitively. Uh, where did the high school season go? Among the awful weather and reschedules, it seemingly flew by like no other.
It’s lagniappe time.
Huge props to the school that jammed Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” after recording the final out in their recent home victory. Sadly, I can’t remember where I was when it happened.
Thanks to Streamwood for keeping it fun by playing the themes from “The Simpsons,” “The Office,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Batman,” “Seinfeld” and “The Addams Family” between half innings.
A 13U kid wearing No. 99 came to bat and I said, “You must be a huge Nena fan.” He had absolutely no idea what this old umpire was talking about. Several hours later, the guy next to me at the urinal says, “Who’s Nena?” I totally had no idea what he [the kid’s father] was referring to until it dawns on me and I try to explain “99 Luftballoons.” He seems to be just as confused as his son.
The Oswego East bench had me smirking when they said, “I’ve seen better moves on a first date,” after a Romeoville pitcher made several failed pickoff attempts.
Battling the wind at Joliet Central, the Steelmen struggled with catching popups all day one Saturday in April. Clinging to a two-run lead in the top of the seventh, another pop fly dropped in the infield with a runner on but it turned into an easy force out. The second baseman then hollered as he lobbed the ball back to his pitcher, “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for ’em.”
Folks, stand and applaud for that, as well as for all the seniors and the moms.