Yesterday the Georgetown Samosets returned to action after about 147 year hiatus to take on the Essex Base Ball Club. The Georgetown boys looked great in their new uniforms but the Essex bats were too much and both games were won easily by the Essex Nine.
View from right field
Brent “Squints” Jones had this recap of his experience yesterday playing right field for the Essex Base Ball Club against the Georgetown Samosets.
It was a beautiful day to be on the field. Essex was hammering away with monster shots all day. Strikers three and four combined to hit the ball a mile. Circling the bases Essex accumulated runs at raucous pace.
Its a good thing too because Georgetown had a couple of strong innings. Yet their bats couldn’t compensate for their defensive woes. Pop ups became base hits and the clink of spikes crossing home plate sounded like change bouncing on a tile floor.
I had the pleasure of playing for Essex. My vantage point was right field. I watched as our left fielder caught everything that came his way. In center much the same. It was a beautiful display of talent. Catching a ball with your bare hands is hard. Yet these guys make it look easier that many can while wielding a mit.
In right field things were a bit sketchy. The skillset in right field is typically not as polished as those who man other positions. I am not used to being that guy. But my hands are not as acclimated to catching a ball flying several hundred feet. Though I admit that I do struggle somewhat in the field, today was a special day. Today was draft horse plough day. All day in right field there were plows being pulled by mules and Otis the tractor. They did a nice job of turning the soil prepping it for the summer crop. Nice deep grooves and inches of fresh turned topsoil…all less than 250 feet from home plate. Good thing Georgetown doesn’t hit to right field often.
Until the bottom of the ninth. There is a lefty at the plate. He turns on the perfect pitch (thanks Pat Cook). I look left. I measure the trajectory of the ball. If I stay 6 inches to the right of the mules I should have a chance to make the catch. As I back into position I hear the conversation of the two ladies handling the mules as they discuss my approach to their location.
“What is he doing?” “why is he coming over here?” What is HE DOING?”
I look to my left and I can sense the mules. I have plenty of room. The ball approaches. I reach for the ball. Suddenly my feet are in the freshly plowed area and I begin to descend. The ball hits my hand and bounces straight up. As I fall backward I can see thta the ball should land right on top of me. PERFECT…if the ground were flat. This ground is NOT flat. No, you can’t plant in flat ground. You need ruts. My body contorts. The ball begins to drop. It hits my chest right as I hit the ground. I have tried to break my fall and my body has slightly pivoted. I can’t get my hands on the ball before it rolls to the ground.
Striker safely reaches second. Dejected, I get off of my back and walk past the mules back to my spot in right. Next up to bat is a righty. But this is no ordinary righty. This righty likes to hit to right field. Last time up, he shot a bullet right to me that I was sure, I would catch on the bound. However, the ball hit the ground and shot right by me as I watched it go by without lifting my hand.
This time though. I would be ready. I mean I just survived a long fly by a mule. As long as he doesn’t repeat what just happened I should be fine. Once again Pat puts one right where the striker likes it. Its crushed to deep right center. I get my angle and take off running at full tilt. There is no change to catch it on the fly, but perhaps I can track it down and catch it on the bound if it will bounce high enough.
I turn on the jets. Its the bottom of the ninth with two hands and I am ready to go home. I will catch his ball, I am determined. I have my speed built up. I have my eye on the ball. I am ready. The ball is about to land approximately ten feet in front of me. When all of the sudden it’s as if I hit a trip wire. As if the ground jumped up and tackled me. I am face down in a pile of dirt. I had just learned a valuable lesson. One cannot gain a full head of steam on hard ground and expect to keep it when hitting freshly plowed ground. One will have a mouth of dirt and a jersey to match. You also get a bit disoriented and not able to properly find where the ball landed.
The locals say that I went down and a dust cloud came up…as well as my feet. That may explain the discomfort I felt while laying in the dirt.
Thank goodness we had an insurmountable lead…and no one else hit a ball to right!
Until next time, this has been…vantage from right field.
Why is my gum so crunchy?