Every little leaguer dreams of one day making the majors. They set up the dream senerio. World Series, Bottom of the 9th down by 3 bases loaded. They mimic the announcer toss the ball and hit the game winning home run.
I was no different. I dreamed of becoming a major leaguer. For a time I really thought I'd make it. Until I was old enough to realize that a .200 batting average wasn't going to cut it. That never kept me from loving the game. I played, poorly, through junior high. Then I took statistics during high school and college. Anything to be close to the game.
One day I found out that the local major league team was holding open tryouts. I knew I wasn't going to make the team but I thought it would be fun to try. I got there and 300 high school to college age guys were there. They were all in much better shape than I was and had their high school or college jerseys on. Many of them looked like actual big leaguers. I thought maybe I should just go back home so I don't embarrass myself. I decided to stay. I managed to make it through running drills just fine. Hard to screw that up. Fielding went ok too. Maybe a couple bad throws but nothing that stood out. The only part left was to take a few swings of live batting practice. I was nervous because I hadn't swung a bat in several years and wasn't sure I'd make contact.
The hitters in front of me were hitting line drives all over the park. They were hitting home runs like it was nothing. I had no idea how I was going to follow that.
I took my place in the batters box. I let the first pitch go by to gauge the speed. It seemed like 90 mph. I know it wasn't but it was faster than any pitch I had ever seen before. The next pitch I barely made contact. I dribbled it down the 1st base line. I thought oh boy this isn't good. Are they going to laugh? Is the coach going to let me keep hitting? I hoped I could just make contact with the next couple pitches and get out of there. The next pitch was on its way and I just closed my eyes and swung. Unbelievably I hit the ball and it went past the pitcher up the middle. A solid single! After that my nerves went away. I had my hit even if I didn't officially count. I managed to hit a few more pretty solid hits before my time was up.
I walked away from that field with a new found confidence. I didn't care that I wouldn't make the team. I stepped to the plate took my swings and got my hit.
I know it wasn't the World Series but it sure felt like it.