Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vexed or wretched or wretches

My Mother, the late Mrs Texino sr. wanted me to be a ball player. If you were alive around the middle of the last century, you would know that she meant baseball. I would be a pitcher beyond compare and she quoted headlines from future sports pages; "Texino marvelous in shut out" or "Texino's sore arm wretches him." I was taught to throw and catch at an early age.
I would sit in a chair opposite my grandmother who would toss me a ball of Red India Rubber. Once I learned to catch it, she moved the chair back a bit and another bit until I could snag the ball with ease, but with the wrong hand. I was left handed and that is good for a hurler. The problem was I caught the ball in my left hand which meant I was a right handed pitcher. Further study showed that I wrote with my left hand and passed a football lefty and threw left under hand batted left but my overhand toss was definitely right and not very strong. The doctors had told my mother I would grow to over 6' 3" and had this happened I might have made it as an odd baller. I could side arm a submarine pitch that looked really cool but tended to surface right into the hitter's zone and I could throw a change up. Actually, I threw three changes, my curve ball, my fast ball and the actual change. In other words I had no speed and since I stopped growing at 5' 9" I was not likely to get any by using my height for leverage. In later years, pitchers like the great Luis Tiante would fool the hyper hitter with a confusing delivery from the "Stretch" followed by a looping curve of such magnitude, that it seemed to take several seconds to reach the plate.
That a professional batter would fall for this seemed absurd, but El Tiante could come in and strike out the side. Not always, but enough for the Red Sox to keep the portly Cuban in the 'pen'. I should say that this whole baseball nonsense was predicated by Mama's dislike for the "Damn Yankees." I should say in defense of Mama that, to her thinking, "Damn" was not a curse word when "Yankees" was attached. There must have been something to this, but I never found out because by the time I was 10 Mama had scouted and dismissed me as a prospect. Too bad because I could catch anything that came my way and was also an excellent placement hitter who could go long too. Oh well, I have always thought that ball teams were managed all wrong, so I probably would wretched the Managers and vexed the owners to no good end.*

*note every writer in this hemisphere is required to do a baseball piece at this time of year.


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