Wiffle Ball World Series

When I started this blog, I introduced a segment called Memory Monday. The segment was influenced by author Jon Acuff who says that looking into our past is a good way to reveal what we find important in the present.

I really liked this idea of looking at my past and I thought that the Memory Monday posts would be a great way to learn from the many exciting and heroic things I have done throughout my life.

Turns out that one thing I learned was that my past is often too boring, even for this silly blog (more on that to come).

Due to that realization, I have gotten away from the Memory Monday posts the past few weeks. Memory Monday probably won’t be a weekly segment, but I will be sharing memories from time to time.

In order to share a blast from my past this week, I dug up a story I wrote in 2006 about an event my family participated in called the Wiffle Ball World Series. Since it is a little long, I have decided to break it up into two parts. The second part will come tomorrow, which means we will have our first ever cliffhanger on Blog by Bake. How exciting.

Without further delay, here is my story about the 2005 Wiffle Ball World Series…

Every fall my dad, my two brothers and I play in a wiffle ball tournament.  It’s called the Wiffle Ball World Series.  It isn’t really the World Series, it isn’t even that big of a tournament, but for my family and I, its one of the best weekends of the year.  We have been playing in this same tournament every year since I was nine years old.  And every year was the same thing; a lot of fun, but also a lot of losing.  We were always the youngest team in the tournament and being the youngest meant also being the easiest to beat.  We would play teams with guys two or three times older than us and except for my dad, they were also two or three times better than us.  Most of the teams wouldn’t even take it easy on us.  They seemed to like destroying our confidence by building up their own.  They would hit home run after home run and each time celebrate as if to say “look how great we are, these dorky kids don’t even stand a chance.”

Even though we always lost, the tournament was still fun.  As we got older, we also got better and a little more competitive.  We might actually win a game every now and then.  It was fun to come back every year a little better and to see some of the same teams who once destroyed us now a little fatter and with a little less hair.  So when this year’s World Series rolled around I felt confident.  We were no longer young and easy to beat.  This year was going to be different…hopefully.

This year’s team consisted of my dad, my older brother Matt, my younger brother Chris, my friend Eric and me.  The perfect team.  Each person brought a little to the table.  My dad, although past his prime, can still hang with anyone (as long as it doesn’t require too much running).  He has always been the best player on the team; that is until about game four when he hurts his back or strains a calf muscle.  Matt is a great athlete who is good at hitting homeruns.  He may even have passed up my dad for best player on the team (even though dad will never admit it).  Chris is the youngest on the team, but he is a very strong kid who has been playing since he was five, so he’s no beginner.  Eric had been playing with us for the past two years.  He played well last year, so we decided to keep him on the team.  And then there’s me.  I’m not the greatest, but I would like to think I am on the team because I am good enough and not just because I’m part of the family.  So there it is, the 2005 version of Baker Boys Plus (Eric being the plus).

When we arrived at the park the day of the tournament, the weather was great.  It was a warm sunny day with no sign of rain.  Rain is kryptonite to wiffle ball, so with none in sight I felt like it was going to be a good day.

Our first game was against a team called the Plastic Devils.  They were a team of five seniors in high school who looked like they would be no pushovers.  “Can’t give him anything to hit,” Matt says to me as we watch one of them hit home run after home run as they warmed up.  “This next guy doesn’t look as good,” I reply as a new batter takes his turn.  “Wrong,” Eric says as the new batter hits one over the fence, past the bushes and into the parking lot.

The game begins and the Plastic Devils jump out to a 12-0 lead after their half of the first inning.  I don’t know about the rest of the team, but I am starting to get a little nervous.  We answer right back with 10 runs of our own.  The nervousness goes away as I realize that we can keep up with these guys.  The game goes back and forth and we end up winning 32-31 in what is by far the highest scoring wiffle ball game I have ever played in.

We may have won the game, but it didn’t come without a price.  Matt had woken up that morning not feeling very well and now he was feeling worse.  After the game, he threw up and was now lying in the fetal position.


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