It Happens Every Spring
Most boys dream to grow up and be major league baseball players. Not me. I dreamed to be a health care consultant. My desire caused much worry for my parents. “Does he need a mitt for consulting?” my mom asked my dad. “No. He needs to be benched and have his head examined,” sighed Dad. “I’ve got an oven mitt, will that help?” offered Mom.
According to a recent Indy article, the school board continues to bat around solutions to fix a high school baseball field that’s too short for today’s young sluggers. A local pediatrician explained, “Kids are much bigger now. I have a giraffe-measuring chart at the office and the boys are too tall for it. They look down on it and have marked it up by adding anatomically incorrect body parts for a giraffe. I feel bad about the graffiti giraffe, but clinically it’s helping me find hyper hormonal levels among boy patients. Plus, the HMO won’t pay for standard medical testing, but supplies me with free giraffe charts and markers.”
Neighbors across from the field contend that hundreds of baseballs have landed in their yards. One concerned elderly resident told me that she only goes out to water her garden during seven inning stretches. I passed along this information to the water district department and the neighbor has been arrested for excessive watering during a drought. One enterprising neighborhood mom has defended her brood from the rainy baseball season by ensconcing the kids with hockey helmets and pads. “I can’t wait for the school board to fix the problem. The hockey equipment keeps them safe until then from massive head injury. But the razor sharp skates are cutting up my mini van carpeting real bad,” explained the proactive mom.
“It Happens Every Spring,” is a great 1949 motion picture that may hold the solution to Laguna’s long ball problems. The movie stars Ray Milland as Vernon Simpson. Simpson is a college chemistry professor, who invents a substance to keep insects away from wood. But a baseball crashes through the chemistry window and lands in the fluid. Simpson realizes that the coated ball repels wood. Simpson goes on to become a major league pitcher with a screwball the sluggers can’t hit. There’s the solution to the school board’s problem.
Of course, it’s just not a matter of pirating the patented wood repellent and changing an inert molecule or two and calling the solution your own. Today’s sluggers use metal bats. A metal ball repellent needs to be discovered. Unfortunately, I’m a contented retiree whose major league consulting dream already has come true. But for the right consulting gig, I’ll gladly come off the bench and organize the high school chemistry class to find a new metal repellent. I believe the answer is in the air around us. A concentrated level of sea salt should be able to rust the bat at the exact moment of contact. A diluted amount will be used when our home team is at bat to keep the contact strong but within the baseball park confines. Batter up.
Mark splits his time between California and Michigan, but is always in the state of confusion and befuddlement. His wife told us so.