It was it was the third inning of the last game of the night at historic Finney’s West and I had seen enough. I just wanted this game to be over with as quickly as possible. It was supposed to have started at 9:00 o’clock, but thanks to an earlier slugfest and an extra inning affair, it didn’t start until after 9:30. It was hot and humid and the softball being played was hurting my eyes. These teams were playing like they didn’t want to be there and neither did I. I just wanted to go home.
Evidently I wasn’t the only one in the booth feeling that way.
Glen, my teenaged scoreboard operator, had been persistent in reminding me of how far behind the games were and how hot it was. His incessant whining had started right before 8:00 o’clock and there was no relief in sight. I just nodded my large sweaty head and mumbled, “I know, I know.” A lot.
When he started whimpering that he wanted to go home, I almost snapped. Almost, but not quite.
It was at this point that I realized that rather than throwing Glen bodily from the booth, I just had to suck it up and make the best of this miserable situation. Maybe, I should even try to set a good example for my pubescent sidekick.
Okay, let’s not get ridiculous, that wasn’t going to happen.
Instead, I told Glen to quit his bellyaching and pay attention to the game. I thought to myself that I had better do the same thing. I needed to make this godforsaken game as enjoyable as possible. That was my plan and I was sticking to it.
My announcement of “Now batting for Super Sports, the veteran shortstop, Ron “Pigpen” Greb” drew a mild chuckle from the gathering of fans. That made me think that I just might be able to make these final four innings entertaining. All I needed was a little cooperation from the teams. Give me a little action, some material to work with.
And that’s exactly what I got.
With an 0-and-1 count on him, “Pigpen” Greb rifled a shot into right-center field. The outfielder charged the ball hard, determined to play it on one hop. He played it on one hop all right. Well, it might be more accurate to say the ball played him on one hop.
The sharply hit 12-inch ball took a wicked hop at the very last moment and caught the outfielder right in a sensitive area. A very sensitive area.
It got him in the junk.
Right in the nads.
A direct shot to the package.
For the Spanish audience, the cojones.
For my British friends, the bullocks.
Okay, he took one in the sack.
(I thought it might be in bad taste to say testicles.)
Anyways, upon impact, the outfielder dropped like a rifle had shot him. A hush immediately came over the previously enthusiastic crowd. Instantly, the ballpark had become completely subdued. So much for making the game lively and fun.
Then it happened. Maybe there was still hope.
Almost as quickly as he had fallen, the stricken player popped up as if nothing had happened. He looked fine. The crowd burst into cheers and applauded to show their relief.
No delay. No injury. Time for me to get back to being amusing. I knew just what I was going to do.
The moment I saw the outfielder up and seemingly ready to play, I shifted back into comedy mode. As the next hitter approached the batters box, I announced in an exaggerated high-pitched falsetto, “Now batting…”
Get it? The outfielder had gotten hit in the family jewels moments ago, so I was doing a funny high-pitched voice because that’s how guys (supposedly) talk after they get hit there.
Pretty funny, right? Right?
Well, it didn’t really matter if it was humorous or not, because as soon as I said “Now batting”, the outfielder dropped in a heap and couldn’t continue. He was done and had to be helped off the field.
I got quiet a few dirty looks. I think the guy’s girlfriend even called me a jerk. It wasn’t pleasant. I think I finally left the park at 11:00 o’clock. That was after telling young Glen to shut up a couple of dozen more times.
Until next time…from the booth.