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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Season 2, vol. 2) “The Night Before”

by Paul Semendinger, Ed.D. July 11, 2020

***

Tomorrow is a big day.

Tomorrow is my 52nd birthday and I have a great day planned.

Tomorrow I plan to throw a no-hitter.

***

Our wood bat, 35+ year-old baseball league, The Amateur Baseball Association, begins it’s season tomorrow. I’ll be on the hill pitching for the Ridgewood Maroons as we play the Paterson Hurricanes in Jersey City.

I have been waiting for this moment for months. I’ve been gearing up for tomorrow’s game with my son Ethan since March 14 when he came home from college due to the pandemic. Throughout the late winter, the entire spring, and into the summer, we’ve had multiple catches a week, every week, non-stop. Once the fields opened, we’ve ventured out a couple of times for me to throw off a pitcher’s mound.

I love playing ball with my son.

And I’m ready. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Four days ago, on Wednesday, we went up to the batting cage at a local high school and I threw off the mound there to Ethan. I threw 100 pitches, giving my all with each pitch.

Earlier today, we threw for about 15-20 minutes just to get my arm warmed up for tomorrow.

Tomorrow the games begin.

***

Ethan is 21-years-old, but each team is permitted up to four under-35 players to suit up each game. The young guys can’t pitch or catch, but last year Ethan was allowed to catch me a few times.

I hope he’s my catcher tomorrow.

***

And I figure that it would be fun to celebrate my birthday by throwing a no-hitter.

***

Truth be told, I pitched last year in this league (my first time playing hard ball in 34 years) and never won a game.

I’m an old guy playing against young guys. Big strong athletic young guys.

Young guys who like to hit baseballs hard.

Young guys that smile when they see an over-the-hill-was-never-good-even-when-he-was-young pitcher warming up against them…

I just hope no one hits a line drive up the middle.

I never was able to throw very hard. Especially now. I don’t get many strikeouts.

I just love to play and am thrilled I’m on a team and that I can even do this. I can throw strikes and I can throw forever. The games go nine innings. I can go the distance. Heck, I can pitch eighteen innings.

Let’s play two!

***

Just over 7 months ago, on January 8, I had surgery to my right Achilles. My rehab has gone well. I’m running (slowly) again. I’m up the five miles on my treadmill. That’s something.

I saw my orthopedist on Tuesday of last week and he was thrilled (thrilled!) with my progress. My physical therapists are also happy. I was jumping from a standing position onto an 18-inch platform the other day.

Progress.

I also play softball in my town league. I am a shortstop, but, it didn’t feel good to be on the field for our first game a few night’s ago (Thursday). I played only one inning in the field. I’m nervous about the quick lateral movements I have to make as an infielder.

Rightfully so.

My tendon hasn’t felt great the last two mornings after warming up at shortstop and playing just that one inning. I’m not sure I can play shortstop this year. I want to. Badly. I’m not sure if my tendon is ready for it yet.

But I am very sure that I can pitch a baseball.

I’m excited, ready, and eager to throw tomorrow.

I’m also a little frightened.

I can’t wait!

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