Where I Learned To Not Be Good At Sports

electchester playground

The photo (above) shows the playground where the Electchester Athletic Association had its games when I was a kid. I played softball there… poorly

I caught in a softball league that had no stealing! The Witness Protection Program couldn’t have found a better place to hide me.

It’s tough to see the field’s surface from Google Streetview, but there’s no grass. The surface is probably forgiving today, but when I played there on busy 164th Street the field was paved!

Yeah, we played on concrete.

No sliding in our league either!

Not that it would have presented a problem for me. I don’t think I ever hit the ball out of the infield.

Most folks are surprised to learn baseball can be played on the same surface used to land airplanes or park trucks. Oh yes it can. And, if I’m any indication, it can be played poorly.

electchester sledding hill

As long as I was looking, I slid Google Earth a little farther down 164th to the hill where we went sledding. After a snowstorm this little topographical bump would be crawling with kids.

No!!! Who did this? I am incensed. There are now fences and hedges to prevent sledding.

Sure, we used to slide out into traffic from time-to-time, but this was our place. For a kid in an apartment this was the great outdoors.

Is nothing sacred?

Watch The All Stars Hit Homers

It’s a trash sport, right? It’s a derivative to make money on what was on off day.

I’m on the sofa with Helaine and Stef watching the MLB Home Run Derby. It’s a trash sport, right? It’s a derivative to make money on what was on off day.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. I’m still in front of the TV.

The least interesting part of the Derby is the Derby itself. I like the back stories–the American Legion coaches invited to come back and pitch some b.p. to the superstar he helped nurture.

I like seeing the kids too. I assume those are players’ children shagging balls in the outfield. When Albert Pujols’ son sat with him early in the contest it was quite charming.

ESPN is introducing “Ball Track,” which uses “Doppler radar to track the ball off the bat and provide the following information.”

* Real-time distance the ball is traveling (from the point of impact to the final resting point);

* The path of the ball, or arch, as it travels through the air;

* Projection by using the path of the ball (in mid-flight, using a changing color pattern) whether the hit will be a home run.

This is a gimmick without the utility of the virtual first down marker used on football telecasts. The trajectory has kinks in what I’ve always expected to be a smooth path. By the time the technology decides it’s a home run I’ve aready figured it out too.

I suspect I’ll be long gone before the celebrity softball game starts.