Rix Quinn – Pre-season baseball memories
Published 11:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2023
At a family reunion, I went outside to play catch with a cousin.
“I’d rate your baseball skills below average,” he said. “Does that surprise you?”
That didn’t shock me one bit. I score below average in most sports, with the exception of “spitting for distance.”
Coaches generally took one glance at me, then decided I was not a leader. My natural facial expression is “confused.” And when I concentrate, I look positively disoriented.
In school, I attempted all the standard games. But I was too skinny for football, and in basketball my vertical leap was only three inches. Could baseball be my specialty?
Our neighbor coached a kids’ team, and invited me to join. I practiced fielding flies and grounders, and could soon catch close to 50%. My technique was to buy the largest glove, then hope that the ball accidentally got trapped there, or somewhere in my shirt.
I had zero skills as a hitter, but the coach had a plan. “When you get to the batter’s box, crouch down like a serious hitter. But never, ever take the bat off your shoulder.”
In one year, I was called out on strikes 20 times, but got walked 38 times. Once on first base, I could generally navigate the other bases without wandering into the outfield or tripping over the shortstop.
That was a happy year. I got on base, scored a lot, bragged constantly about it, and thereby earned the nickname “Walkie Talkie.”
Today, over 40 years later, I still boast about the time I won the league’s title for most bases on balls. And when friends ask how I earned so many walks, I modestly say, “Pitchers respected me.”
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