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Spikes and strikes

It hasn’t been all house-maintenance and class-prep around here, I’ll admit, though the past couple of weeks have often felt like it.  Once in a while, we manage to go out and do things.  For example: a few weeks ago, my English department colleague and Centre County Down Syndrome Society president Gregg Rogers emailed me to ask whether Jamie would be interested in throwing out the first pitch at the August 28 State College Spikes game.  Interested?  “He’d be thrilled,” I said, and I was right.  The CCDSS had a bunch of seats for last Friday’s game, and apparently every group that books a bunch a seats gets to have one person throw out the first pitch.  This results in a speech-act theory conundrum, of course, but it’s fun for everyone who throws out one of those “first” pitches.

Jamie dressed for the occasion, in a Spikes jersey and hat with matching dark blue undershirt and pants.  He was the only first-pitch-thrower-outer to do so, which makes him cooler than everybody else, because he treated the occasion with the gravity it deserves.  We got to the field at 6:30 for a 7:05 start, as we were told.  However, the weather didn’t cooperate.

So while we were waiting for the skies to clear and the field to dry out, Jamie danced to the best song since 2000:

And he danced to many lesser songs too.  Finally, a little after 8, the first-pitch-thrower-outers were summoned down to the field.  How wet was it, you ask?  Watch Jamie take a big step into the gunk as he heads out:

And then, at last, after nearly two hours in a rainy stadium, it was time for the big moment.  Whereupon my usually sure-handed filming technique almost abandoned me, as I scrambled with the zooming in/zooming out thing (technical term) to try to capture the pitch.

We’d spent fifteen or twenty minutes practicing earlier in the day—Jamie throwing from just behind the rubber on a softball field, me catching—and I was surprised to find that Jamie’s usually sure-handed throwing technique abandoned him on every other pitch.  From a distance of about 55 feet (he wouldn’t back up any further), he would throw a gorgeous ball over the corner of the plate followed by a wild thing that would hit the mascot or the hapless guy in the on-deck circle.  I realized he was throwing too hard, and assured him that if he just did his “regular throw” he would be fine.  And he was:

Just short of the plate and off to the third-base side, but hey, it was a wet field—he couldn’t plant his foot properly.  And yes, they mispronounced his name.  No worries.  He’s used to it, as I am.  (But for those of you who have asked, over the years—that’s why we use the accents when we write our names, folks.) Anyway, he came closer to the plate than I did to capturing him on the Jumbotron, and he has better form than that Barack Hussein al-Obama, whose childhood training in Indonesian madrassas prevented him from learning how to throw a baseball like regular guys. 

The Spikes eventually won that one, 5-2, with real starting pitcher Kyle McPherson giving up three hits and no runs over six innings, striking out eight and walking one, and not getting the win because reliever Mike Williams gave up two in the top of the eighth and then watched from the bench as his teammates got three in the bottom of the eighth and then another teammate closed out the ninth.  So, clearly, Williams was the winning pitcher.  Baseball is funny that way.

Besides, I think Jamie is the winningest pitcher ever.  Thanks again to Gregg and the whole CCDSS for handing Jamie the ball!

Posted by on 09/03 at 08:21 AM
  1. As usual, yay Jamie!

    And according to Teh 1ntarw3bz, yesterday’s 12-6 installment doomed archrival Williamsport’s chance for a wild-card slot.  Coincidence?  I think not.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  09:50 AM
  2. Cool. Good job, Jamie. Minor league baseball stadiums are generally nice intimate places. And sometimes they are visited by aging music icons on their “sothern rockification” tours. Or so I hear.

    And forget the accents, the fact that you were even attempting to do something as cinematically self-reflexive as filming the Jumbotoron replay is ample evidence of your Francophilic proclivities.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  09:56 AM
  3. Well, the Brooklyn Cyclones should get the wild card spot, mds—they have the only logo nicer than that of the Spikes.

    And JP, minor league stadiums are indeed nice intimate places for a mise-en-abyme, n’est-ce pas?

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:07 AM
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    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:22 AM
  6. And JP, minor league stadiums are indeed nice intimate places for a mise-en-abyme, n’est-ce pas?

    I’ll get back to you on that after I look up what those last couple of phrases mean. Je ne suis pas le savant.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:28 AM
  7. I’m pretty sure Jamie is a better pitcher than I am.

    Michael, how did your painter’s neck (is that the medical term for it?) hold up in the pitching practice?

    Posted by Orange  on  09/03  at  10:51 AM
  8. OK, mostly—it doesn’t hurt to throw, so I was fine for Jamie’s pitching and his subsequent BP.  But running after the batted balls was out.  Because now, the neck itself doesn’t hurt—it’s the numbness in the arm I have to watch out for.  (It’s in my left arm, not my throwing arm.)

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:53 AM
  9. Well, the Brooklyn Cyclones should get the wild card spot, mds—they have the only logo nicer than that of the Spikes.

    Oooh, I love the way they so successfully evoke the Brooklyn signficance of “Cyclone.” No, really.  Much better than the “grouchy anthropomorphic red bird” version with which I am depressingly familiar.

    And am I the only one here old enough to remember when they were the Los Angeles Cyclones, back before they floated Coney Island through the Panama Canal?

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  11:42 AM
  10. That was a GREAT throw from Jamie.  And I’m sure you hear it a lot, but I always really appreciate these posts, and love seeing and learning about Jamie (and watching you be the rightfully-proud father).

    Posted by Mr. Trend  on  09/03  at  03:04 PM
  11. I know I’ve thrown (and swung at) worse pitches than Jamie threw.  I think while my semi-local semi-pro team (the Nationals) wait for Sidd Finch Steven Strasburg to solve all of their pitching problems, they could do a lot worse than Jamie in middle relief.

    Posted by Gary Oxford  on  09/03  at  05:48 PM
  12. Jamie seemed to be pretty pumped up after his toss. Good for Jamie, and good for the Spikes for having that policy.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  07:33 PM
  13. That was great!  I do think Jamie should get the win. A guy goes out and under pressure sets the tone for the whole game by pegging one square over the plate. That’s a winner in my book.

    Geez, Michael: I’m sorry about the pain. Welcome to the land of the numb left arm. The hot circle of pain in the elbow is a real joy too.  I hope the PT is helping. There are good drugs too, but you can’t take them all that long without adverse effects.

    And I am sorry about the pain.  Sunhee made me a beanbag pillow that I stuff under my neck. It keeps me on my back, and seems to stretch the neck enough to relieve some of the nerve pinching.

    Posted by  on  09/03  at  10:37 PM
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