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Friday · August 01 2003

Earlier this year, I challenged Gar to organize a wiffle ball game before he turns 40. He's still working on it, but I want to play before then.

Between the ages of 9 and 12, I would estimate that I played approximately 150 games of 1 on 1 wiffle ball with my next door neighbor, Darren. We would set up the diamond in his driveway for Cub home games and in the field out back when the Cubs were out of town. We imitated every batting stance and pitching style of the players in the daily matchup.

The ground rules were an intricate design. "Pitcher's hand" meant that anything caught by the pitcher before the batter reached first was an out. "Beat'cha home" was a rule we used for plays at the plate. Any throw on a batted ball that crossed home after the batter took a turn from third base meant the batter was out at the plate. "Ghost runners" were our imaginary standins who ran the rubber mat bases when we pitched and batted. We innately knew how every inch of driveway or yard space corresponded to "automatics". These were triple, doubles, and homers that couldn't be played on.

Since he was 2 years older, Darren was always the Cubs and I was the opposing team for that day. I pitched submarine style like Kent Tekulve against his open stance Mel Hall. As Tim Wallach, I smashed homers just inside the electric pole when he served up a fat Rick Sutcliffe offering. Darren would stuff the Big League Chew in his cheek in imitation of Warren Brusstar's mouth full of chaw.

We took turns buying new wiffle balls for 89 cents from the Rodeway Pharmacy. We each had our own set of thin yellow wiffle bats weighted to our liking. I'd wrap mine with black electrical tape, duct tape, and toss a few rocks inside for extra sound effect.

I don't have a date or a location, I just want to play some wiffle ball. I want to throw the 5 foot curve, the 8 foot rising fastball, and the tricky screwball.

Archived: Play » August 2003
© 2003 Jason Keglovitz