The Sounds of Spring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 6, 2006

There are some obvious signs that warm weather is headed your way.

They include: the now common &uot;pollen-paint-jobs&uot; on everybody’s cars, six aisles of Easter decorations at Wal-mart, and people talking to baseball and softball players while they are trying to play a game.

Nevertheless, here is some of the common diamond fodder that you can expect to enjoy at local games.

&uot;Swing batter, batter&uot; – This one is usually directed at opposing hitters from the dugout, I wonder about the practicality of it however. I mean, I assume that the batter does intend to swing at the ball as some point in time.

Is it possible that someone in the dugout can cause them to swing at just the precise moment that your pitcher is about to dump a curve ball into the dirt? What if the pitcher has just served up a &uot;meaty&uot; fastball right down the pipe and the opposing batter does indeed take you up on your offer to swing?

Bang! Zoom! To the moon! When the batter looks over at you and says &uot;Thanks for the advice&uot; you should automatically be the designated person to go retrieve the ball from the swamp.

&uot;Calling players by their numbers&uot; – They say there is no &uot;I&uot; in team, but there definitely is an &uot;I&uot; in &uot;five&uot;, &uot;six&uot;, &uot;eight&uot; and &uot;nine&uot;.

This tradition had to start off as a mistake. Somebody, somewhere, at some time, forgot their teammate’s name, probably due to &uot;free agency&uot; or illiteracy, and just decided to yell out the player’s number.

As athletes are tribal in nature, this phenomenon quickly became accepted as the cool thing to do. Here is the problem: what if, for instance, the pitcher and batter are both wearing the number 6?

&uot;Let’s get them number six!&uot; could cause a tear in the time-space continuum as two players try to vie for the same &uot;attaboy,&uot; whole ecosystems could destabilize, entire civilizations could fall to ruin. Or, people could just start calling players by their numbers instead of their names and true sportsmanship might actually prevail.

Yeah, that’ll happen.

&uot;Good eye, good eye!&uot; – This is my favorite of them all.

Whenever a batter takes a pitch for a ball, all spectators invariably say, in unison, &uot;Good eye,&uot; as opposed to what, bad eye?

If you are a spectator at a high school game there is always the overriding necessity to instill the notion of teamwork and optimism in young impressionable minds, so it is a rarity that you will ever see a coach rip into their player for a bad play.

But in some warped place deep in my psyche, I long for a Bobby Knight type coach to just once lose it after one of their players watches a strike right down the middle. I

could see him storming the plate after strike three screaming at the top of his lungs, &uot;Bad Eye! Bad eye! I can’t believe that you didn’t swing at that! I hope your parents never buy you an I-pod!&uot;

The funny thing is that somewhere, that is actually happening. Welcome back spring.

Holla back: