Most Saturdays in winter, The Kid Brother bowls with an organized group. He’s very good. Most Sundays in spring/summer, he plays baseball (well, softball)* in Central Park. And, again, he’s very good.
|THE KID BROTHER ABOUT TO WALLOP A WIFFLE BALL.
(SUMMER CAMP VISITING DAY, 1971, RAMAPO, NEW YORK.)
I’m also a very good bowler (well I used to be). I was even better than The Kid Brother (but don’t tell him that). As for baseball, that’s me in the video at the bottom. Well, it’s not really me. It’s an actor, Jonathan C. Kaplan, playing a kid named Jason in the Broadway musical “Falsettos,” which we saw in New York in 1992, the year before we moved from Guilford, Connecticut to San Diego, California. I was never as nerdy as Jason (at least I don’t think I was). But, other than that, it could be me up at bat in that song.
|AT THE AGE OF 5, I DIDN’T PLAY, BUT I LOOKED GOO-OOD IN UNIFORM!
(AND I HAD THE BEST COLLECTION OF BASEBALL CARDS.)
I don’t think I’ve actually played baseball since I was 10 years old. I remember playing at school. I usually struck out. One time, I got a huge hit. A powerful fly ball into an unguarded left field. I was so stunned that I forgot to run. I just watched in awe as the ball sailed through the air. Even with my delayed start, I made it to third base. I then watched the next three players strike out. Game over.
|AT THE AGE OF 8, I GOT HIT IN THE EYE WITH A BASEBALL BAT.
(I THOUGHT I HAD BEEN PLAYING CATCHER,
BUT MY MOTHER THINKS I WAS JUST SITTING AND WATCHING.)
Another time, we had a man (a boy) on first base and two outs. I got up to bat and everyone, including me, knew I would strike out and the game would be over. But I didn’t strike out. I hit a double! And I remembered to run! Unfortunately, my dippy teammate at 1st base decided to try to run all the way to home plate. He got tagged out. The game was over anyway and no one slapped me on the back for hitting a power double.
I’ve been for walks on the beach here and have come across groups of boys (teens) playing baseball, of sorts. It’s not a common sight here in Spain. But even more strange is that, whenever someone hits the ball, he runs the bases in the opposite (wrong?) direction. Clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. It made me think of the song about Jason playing baseball, which hasn’t stopped playing in my head for several days. Your turn!
Obviously, not only Jewish boys who cannot play baseball play baseball.