Why My Kids Will Play Baseball With a Tennis Ball

BaseballtoTennisWhen I was a preteen, my summers were spent outside playing sports. I had the biggest backyard in the neighborhood, so I would often host nightly baseball, kickball, and football games. My parents were fully supportive of it- going out of their way to buy weighted rubber bases instead of using super-light frisbees that kept moving farther away with every run. They would even spray paint yard lines on the grass for us making our football games seem 100% legit. Every now and then, they’d even step in to play.

One night my friends and I were all gathered around, deciding how to split up into fair teams. I was using the plastic siding of our house as a pitch back, throwing a hard baseball against it and then running forward to scoop it up. With each pitch, the baseball with loudly clunk against the house. Eventually my mom emerged from the back door, asking me to stop throwing the baseball against the house. “Baseballs are so hard Zachary,” she said, “please use a tennis ball when you kids play.”

We happened to be short a player, and my mom’s emergence suddenly gave me an idea. “Mom!” I said, “I’ll stop throwing the baseball if you come play with us!” Brilliant.

My mom gave it some thought and decided she’d come out to play as the all-time pitcher. She would lob us a pitch underhanded, trying to make it easy for us to hit. Using a tennis ball made it even better, because we could smack it hard with our aluminum bats, sending an outfielder far out into other neighbor’s lawns, while we took a prideful jog around the bases.

The game soon became one of who-could-hit-it-further, so on the other side of every light lob was a steely-eyed middle-schooler winding up his aluminum bat.

My friend Pete, who later attended a D1 college on a baseball scholarship, stepped up to the plate. My mom sissy-pitched it and Pete was ready. He swung his bat with maximum velocity- sending it flying back at full force- straight toward my mom.

Time seemed to move in slow motion as the neon green fuzz of the tennis ball spiraled closer and closer to my mom’s face. At the moment of impact, time sped up as the ball shattered my mom’s glasses, hitting her in the eye and sending her flying backwards in shock.

All the kids stopped and stared, mouths agape, not sure what to do. Pete dropped his bat in horror. Fortunately, my mom sat up, clutching her eye, and smiling widely.

“Hey, Pete!” she managed to say, “when you make it to the majors, I better get front row seats!”

The tension was relieved and Pete smiled hesitantly, still unsure of how to react. He never rounded the bases, even though it was a sure triple.

Like a true champ, my mom sported a purple shiner for a few weeks after that game.

Upon recalling the story recently, my mom told me that at the time a co-worker, signaling the black eye, asked her seriously if everything at home was okay.

My mom laughed, responding, “Everything’s fine. I just pitched a bad game.”

Now, as a (semi) grown man in my twenties, I vow that in the future I will only let my kids play baseball with a tennis ball. Especially when my wife’s on the pitching mound.

(photo of tennis ball courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/ freedigitalphotos.net, photo of baseball courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/ freedigitalphotos.net)

Zachary Tomasik About Zachary Tomasik

Zachary Tomasik is 5'11", ruggedly good looking, has a charming wit, lives with his parents, and was single for a long long time. Now I've got a really great girlfriend that probably is too good for me, but she hasn't figured that out yet. I like running, reading about running, science, and eating. Healthy food of course being that I'm really fit. Duh. I could mention that I'm a tad insecure but that has probably been well highlighted by the majority of my bio. Carry on.

Zachary Tomasik About Zachary Tomasik

Zachary Tomasik is 5'11", ruggedly good looking, has a charming wit, lives with his parents, and was single for a long long time. Now I've got a really great girlfriend that probably is too good for me, but she hasn't figured that out yet. I like running, reading about running, science, and eating. Healthy food of course being that I'm really fit. Duh. I could mention that I'm a tad insecure but that has probably been well highlighted by the majority of my bio. Carry on.

  • AlpacaLover <3

    We use to play with tennis ball, that is because we simply don’t have a baseball.

Smiles For All