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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Spring training has begun

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Baseball has finally arrived. The smell of the grass, hot dogs and beer fill the air and add to that the smell of money, and nothing could be better.

That's right, money. You see, this season marks the first step toward my making millions of dollars thanks to my little nephew. The little tyke begins T-ball this week and his march to the billions of dollars that will be headed his way.

You might wonder how I fit into this scenario. Well, I fully intend to mentor the little bambino all the way to the big leagues and the process began on Easter Sunday. Getting ready for his first practice, my little bambino wanted to learn a few pointers from his good ole uncle.

First, you have to admire his enthusiasm, wanting to practice for his practice. Then you have to appreciate his knowledge, seeking his uncle out for pointers. How can the kid not be destined for big things?

Of course, like all eager children, he wanted to jump right into hitting the ball. However his uncle informed him that all baseball players play catch to warm up. You see, I have a vast amount of knowledge that just has to be shared. The little guy understood and grabbed his glove that is about the size of an extra-small oven mitt and we proceeded to toss the ball around.

Toss is the operative word here. I didn't want to burn one of my fastballs in since he seemed to have trouble with catching the little toss ups that wouldn't break through a piece of paper. On the flip side, the little Nolan Ryan was tossing balls as hard as he could at a certain area that I hold near and dear. Fortunately I have quick reflexes.

Once I got the little guy holding his glove correctly he caught the ball a few times in a row and I knew I had a prodigy on my hands. But I could tell he was getting tired of the ball tossing so it was time to move to hitting.

He confidently walked up to the little tee with his little toothpick of an aluminum bat and with an intense stare reared back and smacked the ball. As the ball rolled to me about 15 feet away I saw dollar signs with each bounce, and that was a lot of dollar signs.

I corrected the little bambino's feet and he sprayed hit after hit off that little tee. At 4 years old he can already hit the ball better than some of the guys I play softball with. But after seven or eight swings, he was tired and needed a break.

Some may think he needs to work on his stamina but not me. When you swing the bat the way he does, you have to take a little break to refresh yourself. Or, in his case, so his uncle can catch his breath. We all aren't elite athletes after all.

After hitting, it was time to teach him how to field ground balls, which is my specialty. There was once a day, a long, long, long time ago, that I was like a human vacuum in the infield and now it was time to pass it along to my little nephew. Success is guaranteed.

I showed him how to bend his knees and get his glove in the ready position. Unfortunately he saw this and sat his butt on the ground and just stuck the glove out. OK, I accept with that style he may have issues going to his left or right, but by gosh if the ball is hit right back at him he'll be ready.

And not one ball got through the little bambino's legs and he consistently fired the ball back at my special area. He has an uncanny ability with the arm, I must say.

Then it happened. My dad came outside with a fudge ice cream bar and officially ended the practice. I had so many more things to teach, so much more information to pass on to the little bambino, but it was all for naught.

Oh well, I have about 14 more years to pass along my vast knowledge to get the little guy in the major leagues. I just hope during a game somebody doesn't come out eating a fudge bar. If so, I'm afraid my millions of dollars may just turn into a fudge mustache.

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David Jenkins
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