Baseball And Butthurt (In That Order)

So… My ass hurts. Seriously.

Been awhile since I last posted on here. How y’all been? Does anyone read this? 

Well regardless of whether anyone is reading this or not, I have a story to share.

This story starts waaaaaaaaaay back in 1988. I was fourteen then. Miami Vice ruled the television. Spandex shorts were the cool thing to wear… though very few could make them actually LOOK cool (Spandex truly is a privilege as opposed to a right). Dukakis was riding a tank while George W.’s Dad was riding right to the Presidency of the United States. And believe it or not, Whitney Houston was relatively sane, crack-free, and slightly less dead.

But for me in those days of yore, only four things mattered: Skateboarding, Punk Rock, Comic Books, and Baseball. Well okay, maybe FIVE things mattered since at that age, I’d become very much aware of females, sex, and my budding desire to combine the two. But I digress.

The thing we are going to be talking about today is baseball. But you figured that out from the title I imagine. 

At fourteen, I was a rather awkward youth. I was terrible at pretty much every sport my school had to offer except for maybe soccer. But while I liked soccer, I never LOVED it. I couldn’t catch, run, throw or do anything in football. In basketball, I couldn’t even so much as drop the simplest of layups. And then, there was wrestling. Oh God… we do NOT talk about wrestling unless it involves masked Hispanics. 

But then I discovered baseball. And from the very first moment I took the bat in my hand and banged out my first screaming line drive, it was love. But that love was not complete. I only had love for the batting part.

My teams and coaches tried to put me everywhere in the field they could think, in an effort to get my bat in their lineup (turns out I was good at the hitting part). But every position I tried was a disaster. I originally tried playing shortstop in emulation of Cal Ripken Jr. Sadly, I couldn’t emulate his skill on defense. Same with third base. Same with second. Hell, I even found a way to fuck up playing first base! I played the infield like the bastard offspring of Marv Throneberry and Dick Stuart. And don’t get me started on the outfield; even to this day, I can’t think of a more boring sports experience than patrolling centerfield for hours at a stretch.

Taking the mound as a pitcher was something I’d never even given any thought until that year when my coach put me on the mound as a last resort. My debut as a pitcher wasn’t exactly amazing: I lost the game, walking or hitting nearly as many batters as I got out. But you know what? It made sense to me. Everything just kind of… clicked into place. 

For me, it was perfect. I was in control of the entire game. From the first pitch until I got taken out, It felt like everything that happened in the game revolved on what I did, and how I was throwing that day. It also helped that I had one hell of a strong arm at the time.

Of course, those first couple of seasons, control was a HUGE issue for me. But with practice and time, I began to figure that out as well. As a result, I’d developed a real sense of confidence. And I was happy to have finally found a sport that I didn’t embarrass myself completely in.

So naturally, all that fell to shit in 1991. That was the year I’d shattered the ball joint of my throwing shoulder. That’s another story for another time. But for the purposes of the story, it effectively ended any hopes I may have harbored for progressing in baseball past the high school level. Yeah, I did attempt a comeback of sorts in college. But when your arm dislocates every time you try to throw over the top, your chances are pretty slim to put it mildly.

I proved my minuscule chances last year when I attended a tryout in Milwaukie. Not only did I have absolutely no strength in my arm, but I couldn’t even find the strike zone with a guide dog. When the tryout ended, I was basically told “Thanks for playing. But seriously- Fuck off”. Had I but a single measure of pride, it would have been crushed.

But since I don’t have anything resembling pride, and I don’t know the meaning of the word “quit” (Other words I don’t know the meaning of: “No”, “Stop”, and “Felony Parole Violation”)… I resolved to work on a new style of pitching and try again next season.

Which brings us to my ass. And why it hurts.

So on the 24th of this month, I will be attending a tryout and draft with the Northwest Independent Baseball League. In preparation of this, I’ve begun working out. Nothing too strenuous though. Just some stretching, leg strengthening exercises, and very light weight exercise. But with over a week to go until the big day, I knew that I needed to begin throwing. So that’s what I did yesterday. 

Now, a common misconception about pitching is that all your power comes from the arm and shoulder. And while to a certain extent this is true, the fact is that the arm and shoulder is only a small part of where that power and velocity comes from. Throwing velocity in fact comes from the thigh and glutes in a pitcher’s drive leg (the leg you lead off with, thus driving the body forward with the pitch). Since I am right handed, my drive leg is my left. 

At this point it should be apparent: After throwing for 30-45 minutes straight, that drive leg really HURTS. Funny thing about muscle aches is that I never seem to feel them during such physical activity. I had no problem at all throwing. In fact, everything felt really good!

But when it came time to call it a day and begin walking home, that’s when I felt it: A massive throbbing pain from my left thigh all the way up to my left buttcheek. I tell you, I looked like an old man hobbling up the four flights of stairs to my apartment.

Worst part? I can’t wait to do it all over again.

NEXT ENTRY: Throwing Like A Girl

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