The Old Man and the C

I mentioned in an earlier post about a work trip I took with Brian and Jack for Smartacus. On our way to Boston, we stopped for a few days at my sister Shaelee’s house. (That’s where we were staying when we visited McGraw Hill and the Stage Door Deli.)

So while we were visiting, I got to hang out a bit with my nephew Michael. Like many 11-year-old boys, he was obsessed with two things – baseball and his Playstation, which he proudly showed off in the form of his Playstation baseball game.

Now when I was younger, like most kids I had a certain affinity for video games. This Playstation game, unfortunately, gave me fits. I just couldn’t get the hang of the timing – my pitches to Michael were meatballs, and my swings when they (infrequently) connected were driven down the lines. Michael, on the other hand, was keyed into the game like he’d written it himself. His pitches gave me fits and his swings were solid and straightaway.

So after embarrassing myself in a one-sided loss, I begged off a rematch. Michael, wanting to beat up on someone some more, challenged me to a batting practice competition. There, at least, I wouldn’t have to worry about pitching and I might have a chance. He picked his favorite player, Albert Pujols, captain of the St Louis Cardinals. I don’t recall who I picked.

It didn’t really matter.

Once again, he destroyed me with his solid straightaway homers. I managed a handful down the line. Again.

Michael wanted to play once more, as I realized I was probably too old to beat him.

Or was I?

With age comes experience, and the Playstation game featured a choice of stadiums including historical ones. So I chose the Polo Grounds, and away we went.

For the uninformed (which, at the time, included my nephew Michael), the Polo Grounds were where the old New York Giants used to play. Sandwiched into a lot in the midst of a residential neighborhood, it had odd dimensions. Specifically, it was 279 down the left field line and 257 feet down the right field line, and 455 feet to center field – one of the deepest center fields in major league history.

So, Michael hit shot after shot 400+ feet to dead center field, only to fall short. He ended up with zero home runs, while I managed to poke a couple of shorties down the line that went over the fence. I won that round 2-0, and quickly retired on that winning note.

Sometimes experience pays off…

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