By David Everett Fisher
If there is one thing that we at Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger would like to accomplish, is to make baseball fun again. The three of us met up for brunch to discuss a few things and while getting ready to leave we decided to get the small plastic bat and ball out of Dave’s car and hit a few.
It was sunny here in Portland, but it is still cold and we had a strong wind blowing freezing chill, but that didn’t stop us from taking some whacks at a ball. Dave pitched to Andrew a few, but then Nate was walking to yoga and complimented Sean on his Orioles hat, so we asked if he wanted to try and strike Andrew out. If he does, he gets a free bottle of NW Elixirs hot sauce, and if he can’t, then he will have to go to his yoga class in shame. Nate pitches him on the outside, which is Andrew’s weak spot, and Andrew goes down swinging. Nate is excited and walks off to yoga class chin up and a positive baseball experience.
We felt that the bat and ball that we were using wasn’t up to snuff, so we go to Safeway and find out that they have a full bushel of fresh whiffle ball sets. The people were a little suspect of us buying a handful of plastic yellow bats and balls, but we put on our best innocent smiles to put everybody at ease.
We find a non busy corner of the parking lot and start pitching each other change ups, curve balls, sliders, and even a few knuckle balls, or at least the whiffle ball moved a lot. Sean had some of the better hits, while Andrew got some grounders, but Dave just couldn’t get contact to save his life.
It was fun just swinging the bat around and talking innocent trash to each other. People who saw us smiled and I think all had that inkling about being a kid. Some people shouted encouragements and appreciations. Whiffle ball can be played anywhere. When you step up to the “plate”, you can become your favorite player by copying their batting stance. You can see if everyone can guess what player you are emulating. Then there is being the pitcher. You copy your favorite pitch wind ups, or you just do an exaggerated leg kick after looking at first base. You can either enjoy being in a cold Safeway parking lot or you can be the hero in the World Series.
I hit one on the ground that would have been easily fielded by a short stop, but that didn’t stop me from flipping my bat and trotting to first, which was a curb where my jacket way lying. With a whiffle ball bat, I am as good as any MLB player.
As we were heading back to our cars, a couple of guys asked us about our whiffle ball bats and we challenged one of them to strike Andrew out for a bottle of hot sauce. They were stoked and we headed over to a bank’s parking lot. We decided on a 1-1 count. First pitch was a Hit By Pitch, but we counted it as a ball. The second pitch was a foul behind the plate, and then the final pitch was hit up the third base line. Andrew gave him the hot sauce anyway for being a good sport.
He then wanted a few pitches to hit himself and he was able to get the best hit of the day with some great launch angle and exit velocity to land in the street behind the parking lot. Those guys went back to their brunch with a bottle of hot sauce and some fond baseball memories. I wonder if they talked about baseball for a bit?
What a fun day and exactly what Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger is all about.