Saturday, June 13, 2009


I forgot that school was still in session, so I haven’t been able to go throw a ball against its wall in the mornings. The weather’s been bad enough to make it silly in the evening, too, so I’ve only had one good session. The good news is that things aren’t quite as bad as I’d thought.

Catchers, because they have to get rid of the ball so quickly, and are constrained by their position, crouching behind the batter and in front of the umpire, are taught to make quick snap throws from the ear. This kind of toss I seem still to be able to make with reasonable accuracy and at least some feeling of remembered normality. Not great, but not ridiculous.

Second basemen have to get rid of the ball quickly, too, but they often have to do it on the move, and their throw, more often than not, is to first base. So they are taught a quick, sidearm flip across their bodies. In my youth, this was my “normal” throw, the one I defaulted to when I was just tossing a ball back and forth with a friend. But now, I can’t throw the damn ball straight this way, and everything feels all out of whack. This may be due to a shoulder injury, but I’m not ready to buy that explanation yet. I think the problem has more to do with wrist motion than lack of range in the shoulder. At any rate, I’m going to stick with it until I find out. If it’s the wrist, I can fix it.

This is, I know, a slightly pathetic obsession in someone my age. There’s a line in The Philadelphia Story where the somewhat creepy father of the bride claims that older men have affairs because of their sense of mortality. I don’t know about chasing chorus girls, but throwing a baseball? Absolutely. I know my Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should snap and flip at close of day....
Throw, throw with the left hand or the right.

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