Anyone who’s ever talked to me about playing baseball as a kid has inevitably heard my “two baseball stories” (mentioned in passing a couple years ago). To those of you, I’m sorry, but here we go again (you may want to scroll to the bottom, though, for the nifty video link). To the rest of you… beware as my head’s about to grow quite large from bragging.

Story #1

Picture it… 1987… the Major T-Shirt league… the first game of the season. Major T-Shirt was nice because it was the first year where the coaches didn’t pitch and base-stealing was allowed. At that point in my life, I was quick… I was never the biggest or most physically talented, but I was always really fast as a kid, especially in short bursts. Just the skills one needs for base-stealing on unsuspecting peers. The first game of the season, I stole every base—including home—three times. I couldn’t be stopped. I ended the year with 45 stolen bases, nine of them in that first game. “The White Vince Coleman,” they called me. Or I called myself. I can’t remember.

Story #2

In a league whose name I can’t remember—it was the one for 8th and 9th graders, but wasn’t connected to school in any way—I was playing in one of my last two seasons of baseball. I was still speedy and often taunted the pitcher and catcher by taking such a huge lead off of the base that I was literally halfway to the next base by the time the pitcher threw his pitch.

A few games into the season, the coaches saw that I was an alright fielder and a decent pitcher, but a pretty lousy hitter. I wasn’t the worst, but I was certainly in the bottom half of the team. At this point, they had me batting dead last in the line-up because I had started the year with an abysmal batting average. In the last inning, our team was down by two runs with two outs and the bases were loaded. I was up. Can you hear the dramatic music playing in the background? I can now, but then all I could hear was the coaches and my teammates groaning as Mr. Dead-Last-in-the-Lineup stepped to the plate. I didn’t even have much confidence in myself, really. But one or two pitches into the count, I swung and cracked one into deep left field, well over the head of the left fielder. The ball landed and rolled to the left field fence. One run came in easily, and so did the next. The winning run rounded third base and made it in before the throw was even in the air. Even though the game was over by professional standards, the play continued. I rounded home at top speed without even looking for the ball and made it into home, standing. A grand-slam game-winner from the last batter in the lineup. It’s the stuff great endings are made of.

The next game I was batting clean-up, but went oh-fer.

Now the video… I don’t have footage of either of the two stories above, so you’ll just have to take my word that they happened. But I do have a little footage from a Little League game in 1988 where I was playing left field and made a pretty bad ass throw to home plate. Please right-click and save the clip so you can save my bandwidth and enjoy the amazing play over and over.

(In case there was ever any doubt as to my eternal dorkiness, even after a good play, notice how when I run in from left field and jump up in triumph that I knock my own cap off. DORK!)