I Hate First Base

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My uniform was blue. Printed in white letters across the chest was “American Legion Post 294.” I wore an adjustable cap with white mesh and a blue front and brim. On the front over the blue in white was a big letter “L” for Legion. The hat made my head look small. We wore blue stirrups. I was twelve.

On game day I put on my uniform and walked across the street to the American Legion field. The field had a dirt infield and a fence encircling the outfield. The fence in centerfield was 200 feet from home plate.

I came to the plate with bases loaded. I was nervous. My heart was pounding. As I stepped into the box my heart was racing. I couldn’t calm myself down. Everything seemed to be at hyper speed. Eric Fagerman’s first pitch was right down the middle of the plate and I watched it go by. “Strike!” The second pitch was off the plate outside. “Ball!” His next pitch was borderline on the outside of the plate. I fouled it off. Strike two. The next two pitches were balls. The count was now full. I was even more tense and nervous than before. I could not stop thinking “I can’t strike out! I can’t strike out! I just can’t strike out!” Eric threw his 3-2 pitch down the middle of the plate and I swung as hard as I could. I made contact and I ran hard to first. As I ran, I could not believe what I saw. The ball I hit sailed over the fence in dead center. Home run.

I just hit a grand slam home run. I had never even hit a home run before. I couldn’t believe it. I just hit a grand slam home run!

I ran the bases with the biggest grin you have ever seen. I was elated. All my boyhood dreams come true. I touched third and then I touched home. Home run. All my teammates went crazy. They were so happy, so excited. Everyone was. Nothing like it ever happened to us. And the amazing thing was I did it. I hit the home run. Me.

I sat down in the dugout trying to wrap my head around what just happened. I looked out at the field to watch the next batter. But the batter wasn’t in the box. Something unusual was happening. Eric was on the mound but not to pitch. I was puzzled. “Why is he throwing over to . . .” Before I finished the sentence, from the mound Eric threw to first. The first baseman touched the bag. The umpire yelled “Out!”

I was out.

Officially my grand slam never happen. I didn’t touch first base.

I hate first base.