Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect Fun

Baseball practice for Sault Little League has started up for this season. So far, we've been stuck inside as we're still getting rid of our last bit of snow and now dealing with rain. The kids are having a lot of fun with it and I've been pitching in when I can. I'm moving Trevor up this season from t-ball to Minor 1(7-8 yrs) to be on the same team as Lily. This solves a lot of problems in determining which team I was going to coach. Also, having them play on the same night at the same time is a lot more convenient. Both kids are handling the move up nicely so far. Lily still gets a lot of recognition for her talents the last two years. It will be tougher for her this year, as it looks like she'll be the only girl on the team as most moved over to the all-girl softball program put into place last season. I'm keeping her in baseball basically because I want to coach both of them, and she can handle baseball just as well as the boys with no problem. We should be getting outside soon as the weather clears up, and Trevor will be starting soccer at the first of May, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

RIP Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych

Yesterday in a tragic accident, former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych lost his life while working on a truck on his farm in Massachusetts. The details of the accident arn't as important as the fact that he was only 54 years old, and left behind a wife and daughter. Our prayers go out to his family and friends.
I was actually only four years old when he made his major league debut. I can still remember how much fun he was to watch as a kid. I went to my first Tigers game in 1977, a year after Fidrych won the Rookie of the Year award, and made baseball fun again for so many fans. Due to injury, I never did see him pitch live, but that didn't stop him from being my favorite player back then, and even now. One of my most prized possessions is an old baseball card of him that my mom cut off the bottom of a Twinkie box. The price guides will tell you it's worthless. It's bent, beat up, and doesn't fit the mold of a 'mint' baseball card. To me, though, it represents a part of my childhood. I used to carry that card in my back pocket everywhere I went when I was in gradeschool. It was as important to me as my Star Wars toys that I cherished at the time.
I did have the pleasure of meeting Mark in 1995 at a card show in Mt. Pleasant. He was great with his fans and signed a card for me. I have always wanted my kids to meet him, too, but that isn't going to happen now. I did actually send him two cards in the mail to sign for Lily and Trevor (before Brian came along). He was nice enough to sign them and send them back. Mark is Lily's favorite player, too, basically because she's heard all of the stories from me and has seen all of the things I collect of his. All I can do, I guess, is keep telling the stories, showing the pictures, try to keep his legend living on.
RIP Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych. You will be missed, but never forgotten. In my opinion, the Bird is STILL the word.