The Man Cub is at the first stage of his coming of age and started tee ball this month. At just 3 years old, he’s probably the youngest kid in the league, but that’s how it shakes out when his birthday is two weeks before the Little League age cutoff.
For almost two years now, the Man Cub has been taking some light batting practice in the living room. We’ve always pitched to him because we didn’t have a tee for him to hit off, but he still wanted to learn how to hit. When tee ball came around, it was a little bit of an adjustment for him to get used to hitting off the tee, but he has it down with a nearly perfect inside-out swing.
He’s playing with the Yankees, and as you can imagine, I’m incredibly disappointed having a navy blue “NY” hat in my house. However, this will all be over soon enough and we can properly dispose of such an abomination. Not really, he’ll probably wear it until next season when he, hopefully, gets put on any other team.
There’s something special about watching a ragtag group of little kids whose jerseys are too big, don’t know how to keep a hat on, and don’t fit in any helmet in the “dugout.” The kids don’t care if the ball doesn’t make it out of the infield and they’ll even chase after it when they’re supposed to be running to third base. But they love it because it’s fun.
The Man Cub’s first game was last week, and if I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “herding cats” during the game, I could probably retire comfortably today. It puts a different perspective on things by watching these kids try to play this game that they don’t really understand or even care that there’s no score. It’s the best reminder about the purity of baseball.
In this tiny world, there are no outs and there are no doubles; everybody hits and everybody scores. The pure joy shown on the face of every kid after they come around the bases and touch home is amazing.
Obviously, the best part of this is watching the Man Cub finally get to play baseball. There are few times I’ve seen him more excited than when he races to the outfield as the first one to grab the ball, every time he hits and runs to first base, and especially when he gets a treat after the game.
Baseball is fun. That’s why we love it. No, losing isn’t fun as we get older. In fact, Brad Pitt laid it out perfectly in Moneyball when he said, “I hate losing more than I even wanna win.” I can relate to that more than I care to admit, but it’s still important to remember why we fell in love with the game from the start. It’s fun.