Edition No. 16
June 13, 2013
A short From the Bullpen as we head into the Father’s Day weekend.
First of all, the standings through today, June 13, 2013:
From the standpoint of this owner, it has been a blast watching Jim Ed, Underbelly and Big Guy compete for first half bragging rights. It will be fascinating to watch and see if this triumvirate of perennial underdogs is able to fend off the usual overlords of Hot Stove League baseball (Chiefs, Cubs, Wahoos, Bums) who have dominated the HSL during the Yahoo “Age of Information” era.
Here are the top ten pitchers through last night’s games:
TOP TEN BATTERS
And the top ten batters:
The Senators are out of the basement and moving up.
With Father’s Day just around the bend, I have been reflecting this week on just how damn lucky I am to have four terrific children, all healthy, happy (okay, some might question this adjective with Savannah, but it’s a relative term), and while all teenagers, all still great to have around the house this summer.
As I got up early this morning to pick up Savannah from a friend’s house in order to take her to the Lake Zorinsky baseball concession stand where she is working this summer, I realized how much things have changed with my kids at their current ages of 19, 17, 15 and 13. This morning, Joe had to be at work on the field crew at the Zorinsky baseball field at 6:30 a.m.; Savannah had to be up at the Kingswood concession stand by 6:30 a.m.; Will had to be at Mount Michael for football weightlifting by 6:30 a.m.; and Emily had to be at Marian for dance team practice at 7:00 a.m. All four Ernst kids up and at ’em by 7 a.m. on a summer morning! If somebody had suggested to me even a year ago—no, make that even a month ago—that this would happen, I would have recommended a full mental examination and workup.
It’s a whole lot different than those lazy summer days of years gone by when the kids would sleep until 11 a.m. or noon, have a late breakfast or an early lunch, and then hang out at the pool with friends for pretty much the entire day, until the boys had a baseball game at night. It is a brave new world out there, and while it is different and maybe I would prefer those lazy, leisurely summer days of years past, it is the reality that we all face as our families grow up.
And then, of course, there’s baseball. As I savor the unearned privilege of being able to watch my two sons play another season of Legion baseball together, I realize just how lucky I am—the luckiest man alive—and how desperately I would like to be able to make time stand still this summer instead of proceeding at out-of-breath, breakneck speed.
Just in the past two weeks, I was lucky enough to be announcing a game at Mt. Michael in which Joe (the 3-hole hitter) came up to bat with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the third inning, and promptly creamed the horsehide on a straight string to the gap in left center field for a double. I can hardly even put into words the thrill of being able to announce, “Joe Ernst strokes a double to left center, and now at the plate, his brother, Will Ernst,” or words to that effect; and then to see brother Will, our clean-up hitter, mash the very first offering to him on a rope to within about six inches of where Joe hit his gapper, plating Joe and replacing him at second base. I’m not even sure what I said over the PA system, but it took all I could muster not to just jump up in the press box and beat my chest and loudly announce to the world that I am the one who begat these two fine baseball-bashing specimens.
In Wahoo a few days later, Joe crushed his first home run of the year at Sam Crawford Field, a screaming missile that was still rising when it cleared the fence. In that weekend tournament, the Wahoo announcer continually referred to the Mt. Michael 3-4 slot hitters as “the law firm of Ernst & Ernst,” without any prompting from me whatsoever. A few days later, young Will put on a raking display against the Crete Nine, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, a single, three runs scored and three RBIs. And to cap off the fortnight, at a tournament in Gretna last weekend, Smokin’ Joe smoked a pretty good fastball from a very good Seward pitcher over the left field fence to pad the Mt. Michael lead, and then came in to pitch in the bottom of the 7th inning to close out the obnoxious Seward Nine, avenging an earlier loss to a very cocky and unpleasant team.
I don’t know what the rest of the season holds for the Mt. Michael team or for the Ernst boys, but the past two weeks alone have created enough great memories to last the Old Man a lifetime.
Fellow fathers, I appreciate your indulgences in allowing me to relive some of the best days of my 56-year-old life. Like you have a choice. But while it would feel like boasting and braggadocio if I shared this with just any audience, I know that all of you will receive it in the spirit intended. Each and every one of you knows the indescribable joys of fatherhood, because you are all such great fathers yourselves. Because I know how much pride you take in all of your own offspring, I also know you can understand and appreciate these unsurpassable feelings of fatherly joy that I have expressed.
To close out this issue, let me wish Shamu a happy Double Nickel birthday, and all twelve of you—a dozen of the best fathers I know—a happy, healthy and joyous Father’s Day weekend.
As a Father’s Day gift to the Hot Stove League, we share below a few photos of some of your families that Linda was able to discover on the internet, mostly through Facebook. She wasn’t able to find photos of all of you, though she searched diligently. If you have any family photos you would like to send, we will post them.
Chloe, Max, Denny, Patty and Sam Bontrager
Jesse, Anna, Sam, Jori and Eli Krause
Zach, Anne, Foster, Madge and Ali Thielen
Hannah, Shamu, Rachel and Jan Sinclair
Linda couldn’t find photos of all of the Morrises, but she did find photos of Greta and Wells:
Wells Morris (far left) and “three” of his buddies
Michael, Robert, Mitch, Lori and Katelyn Pirnie
Molly, Max and Taylor Bridges
Rick and Molly with their three daughters,
Abby, Sara and Emma, son-in-law and grandbabies
Savannah, Will, Joe, Dave and Emily Ernst
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