WALLY'S WORLD: Just for fun, T-ball is best

By Wally DuChateau

Unless you’re the parent, you may not have heard about T-ball. For those so uninformed, T-ball is a funny, little game where a soft baseball sits on a plastic pole and youngsters try to hit it with a short, lightweight aluminum bat.

I’d seen kids play with such paraphernalia before, but didn’t realize there were actual T-ball leagues. Enumclaw Parks and Recreation has a program and the Maple Valley Parks Department has organized no less than 18 teams with nine or 10 boys and girls on a team. Each team is sponsored by a local business, which supplies matching shirts and hats.

The other day I was invited to the season’s opening game between the mighty Blue Jays and the ferocious Alligators. My oh my, what a wonderful, perfectly charming morning that was.

So, one team is up to bat. Members of the other team are scattered around the bases and the field, many wearing leather gloves that seem too big for their hands. In one case the mitt was quite possibly worn on the wrong hand and, in another case, worn backward. I suspect some children didn’t really understand the purpose of the mitt and oftentimes it simply got in the way of other pursuits, consequently it was simply thrown away or “lost.” As the players ran hither and yon for no apparent reason and with no reliable direction – while chasing after a fly ball or a squirrel – one fellow tripped over a discarded glove, but he quickly got to his feet again, picked up the mitt and ran off the field to show Daddy what he found.

The Blue Jays’ clean-up batter takes a hefty swing at the ball, but misses. Daddy tells him to spread his legs further apart and try again. So, with a much wider stance, the kid takes another hefty cut and promptly falls flat on his butt.

But now, with yet another swing, the batter lofts the ball into right field, where it rolls to a stop beside a fielder. It just lays there. The player, it seems, is fascinated by the holes left in the ground after it was aerated before the game. Indeed, he has a finger stuck in one of them, testing its depth and width.

“Get the ball, Timmy,” Mommy yells. “Get the ball!” But, alas, her son is simply more interested in the hole.

I’ll tell you what, friends, I may go to a few baseball games this year – including local games and games at Safeco Field – but I’m absolutely convinced I won’t see a more entertaining, delightful game anywhere else this season. So, if you’re feeling depressed and you’d like to lift your spirit a bit, instead of resorting to some high-powered prescription drug, I’d suggest you simply go to a T-ball game.

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