Swing, batter, batterPublished 8:40am Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I never had an interest in playing baseball as a child.
It’s not because I didn’t love America’s pastime, I did. It was because I was awful at it. I mean, just terrible. I was the kid at the plate that would swing well before the ball arrived in the strike zone and might even fall down because of the force I used to pull the bat forward.
My eyesight is at least partially to blame. A small object traveling at a high rate of speed is almost impossible for my busted eyes to pick up. Not only do I need corrective lenses, but I’m far-sighted and have the depth perception slightly better than a gopher.
I say my eyesight is, at least, partially to blame now, but if you’d asked my 12-year-old self I’d have said it was 100 percent of the problem.
I know that’s not true, and at least some of my weaknesses in baseball comes from my lack of athleticism. I know it’s shocking, but I really am not that athletic. I’m tall and can take up most of a doorway, but can’t catch a tiny, white ball in a leather glove to save my life.
I also was never encouraged to tackle baseball as a sport. Sure, I’d watch it on television (go Cubs!) but that interest never translated into actually taking the field. My dad was never much into sports and my mom, who played high school basketball, didn’t like baseball.
As a reporter I’ve met my share of interesting people. There have been military veterans with cases full of medals, politicians and athletes. For instance, I met New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and former Gov. George Patterson, while working at the same newspaper.
However, Saturday marked the first time I’d met a Major League Baseball player.
Molino native and Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Caleb Gindl traveled to Northview for a baseball clinic.
The clinic had various stations for kids, ages 9-17 to take advantage of and learn more about the game of baseball. I caught up with Gindl as he was finishing up with a group of little hitters.
He said he did the camp as a way to give back to his local community. He said he loves the area and even keeps an off-season home in Molino, despite being called up to the majors this year.
Northview head baseball coach Martin Freeman, who has a championship ring as a member of the Reds’ organization, said he can remember how inspiring it was to see a major leaguer come to his hometown of Pensacola and teach a clinic. He said he’s happy that Bratt has a clinic now for the foreseeable future.
I kind of wish a clinic with a major leaguer would’ve been available when I was growing up. Instead of writing about baseball I might’ve been playing it. Then again, there’s my eye issues.
Dale Liesch is a news reporter for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at email@example.com.