The family with my nephews Henry (baseball pitcher heading to University of Louisiana at Monroe) and Mason (baseball pitcher heading into his senior year at Washington and Lee University). And yes, they are tall, Henry is 6’7 and Mason is almost 6’6. For perspective, my wife (in the photo) is a little over 5’11.
Incredible to see some live baseball after months of zero sports. On the mound is Henry Shuffler (my nephew). He will be pitching for University of Louisiana at Monroe next year.
My grandfather was a pitcher in the Cape Cod Baseball League before serving in World War II. He enjoyed sports and spending time with other athletes. During his retirement years in Florida he played golf with Johnny Antonelli. Antonelli was the ace pitcher (21-7 with a 2.30 ERA) for the New York Giants in 1954 when they won the World Series. I spent a day with Johnny and my grandfather watching spring training games in 1986. Antonelli let me wear his World Series ring for an entire game. Johnny Antonelli died just this past February at the age of 89. More about him: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Antonelli
The summer of 1990 I lived and worked in the Andes Mountains near Cuenca, Ecuador. The main focus was building latrines and planting trees, but we also taught baseball to the local kids. The bat was made of bamboo, and the ball was a rock, both wrapped in duct tape.
I played Little League baseball (ages 6-12). My last year I made the Arlington County All-Star Team (Virginia) as a first baseman, but then ultimately chose to play tennis in middle and high school. Historically speaking, I know more about baseball than any other sport.
Standing as if a sundial, my hand, a glove shadowing time.
Waiting for the ball I blink, wink, chew gum, itch my rear,
because nobody is watching me out in the wilderness where
gnats and sun, smell of cut grass envelop me, make me
a tall insect wearing stripes, socks hiked up high. I pace, shuffle
cleats, shout “Hey Batter, Batter,” as if my distant voice matters.
Take away white lines, the small crowd, he’s just a bushy haired
boy in a quiet meadow, looks like he might be talking to himself.
Or god knows who he is or what he is doing out there alone, a
quiet king with monarchs that flutter by. Until wooden bat breaks
daydreams, interrupts his nature, baseball soars over his head.