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Michael Rhynes, "My First Hero"

Efraim "Dee" Diaz, "My First Little League Game"

 

My First Little League Game/ My First Hero (Co-performed)

 

Dee:  Throughout my childhood years, my dad and my uncle Nick make it their business to teach us how to play several sports--baseball being the main one. 

It was the summer of ’80, my brother and I were really excited because little league baseball was coming to town and we were promised by our parents that if we did good in school and passed grade, we would join a little league team.

 

Michael:  When I was a kid I used to follow my brothers T and C around.  When they went in different directions, I would become confused about which brother to follow.  (Point in different directions)

On this journey we would be going together.  They wanted to try out for the little league baseball team.  I just wanted to hang out.

 

Dee:  Not only did we score the highest in all our classes, we couldn’t stop practicing and imitating major league stars like Reggie Jackson, Willie Randolph, Dave Warfield, just to name a few.  We took their batting stances in the batter’s box and even swung the bat like they did.

The day we were scheduled to pick up our uniforms, we were the first ones there.  We went home and tried them on.  Once they were on we didn’t want to take them off.  We even went to practice catch around the corner dressed up in those uniforms.  It was as if we wanted everyone to know that we were on a baseball team.

 

Michael:  T made the team with a few pitches.  C made the team with a couple of catches at second base.  So naturally I wanted to try out.  (Strike 1, strike 2, strike 3)

They made me batboy.  I didn’t know anything about baseball.  So what better person to ask than the coach?

Mike:  coach, why do we have to wear these pants?
Coach:  because they’re baseball pants.
Mike: coach, why these pants so hot?
Coach:  I have no idea.

 

Dee:  The day before opening day wee couldn’t sleep, the anticipation was incredibly high.  All we did was talk through the night of how good we were going to be . . .

Opening day arrived and we took the field.  That day I was playing right field.  In Little League, playing right field can be a bit boring.  Hardly anyone hits to right field.  So no one wants to play that position.  So I tried to make it as exciting as possible.  I was chewing “Big League” bubble gum, blowing big bubbles and peeling the gum off my face and putting in back into my mouth.

 

MICHAEL:  We had a winning season and we were in the championship game. 

It’s the bottom of the ninth, we were wining 3 to 2, there’s a runner on third and a runner on second base with two outs. 

T is on the mound.
Their pinch hitter comes up to bat. 
The other team starts shouting, “Pitcher got a rubber arm, pitcher got a rubber arm.”

I shout, “Batter, batter, swing.”

 

Dee:  Every time they would hit the ball to second I would rush in to back him up just in cast the ball got by him.  The inning was over and it was my turn at bat.  I swung and foul tipped the ball.  Strike one.  I swung and missed.  Strike two.  Here comes the pitch.  It appeared low to me and I didn’t swing.  “Strike 3, your out,” said the umpire.

Like any kid that strikes out, I got upset.  I’ll get them next time.  I’ll make it up on the field.

 

MICHAEL:  T winds up and throws the first pitch.  (Batter swings)

Umpire:  Foul Ball

T winds up again.  The third base runner creeps his way toward home. 
The second base runner inches away from second.
T throws.

The batter doesn’t swing.

Umpire:  Low and away, ball
(The count is 1 and 1)

 

Dee:  It was the top of the third inning and I’m on the field.  They finally hit the ball towards right field.  I took a step back to time the ball to make sure it wouldn’t go over my head.  I then began to run towards the ball.  The closer I got, the faster I began to run.  As I approached the ball, I lowered my glove and set up to do a basket catch.  As I was closing in on the ball it began to sink quickly.  When I caught up to the ball I must have been at least 6 inches short of making a clean basket catch.  The ball hit the grass, and if you play baseball you know that once the ball hits the grass it picks up momentum and speed and shoots off the ground.

 

MICHAEL:  Winding up, T lets it go.  (“Pitcher got a rubber arm.”)

The batter swings.  (“Batter, batter swing.”)

Umpire: Strike.  (Count is 1 and 2)

It’s the bottom of the ninth; the score is 3 to 2 with 2 outs.  The second and third base runners are inching and creeping towards home. 

T winds up and releases the pitch.  The batter doesn’t flinch.

Umpire:  Ball.

 

Dee:  The ball shot right up and hit me dead on my nose.  I fell back on my ass.  The next thing I know is when I opened my eyes I see my coach, the players, and my parents all-starring down at me.  I had a bloody and broken nose.

 

MICHAEL:

The count is 2 and 2

T slings the ball.
The batter hits it

Umpire:  Foul ball
(It’s a full count:  3 and 2)

 

Dee:  I got to my feet and they began to clap.  That day I left the park 0 for 1 with a broken nose.  For the following two weeks, I sported two black eyes.  I took it like a sport and I was out there the following weekend playing right field again.

 

MICHAEL:  It’s the bottom of the ninth.  The score is 3 to 2.  We were winning with 2 outs.  The other team has runners on second and third base.  The count is full, 3 and 2.

T winds up and let’s loose.  The batter swings.  CRACK.

The other team starts jumping up and down and points over at the home run fence.

Our team slumps in defeat.

I never take my eyes off my brother. 

He realizes he’s caught a line drive.

 

Dee:  That was my first little league game.

 

MICHAEL:  Yes, we win and T becomes my first hero.

 

 

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