I have so much to learn about baseball that my head was spinning recently after just a couple minutes of corrective teaching by my neighbor, former Everett High baseball coach Randy Ayers.
In fact, my learning curve is so much more like a parabola than a curve. And that is simply referring to my throws — one that has a vertex of y = –x2 – 4x + 2.
In other words, my throws often have too much height relative to the distance, which is problematic since I am playing right field. In right field, it’s always helpful to have a cannon for an arm.
I don’t have one.
As Coach Ayers broke down my throwing form, it was painfully obvious that I am a classic example of old-man-with-no-range-of-motion syndrome. This only confirms what I’ve been told in CrossFit: if you don’t use it, you lose it. So 41 years of not picking up a baseball and doing that throwing motion has caused all of my muscles to kind of atrophy.
It’s definitely time to start using it because I will need it this season with the Puget Sound Senior Baseball League (PSSBL). Even if it is simply to get the throw into the cut-off man, I need more power in my motion.
In fact, my throwing motion lacks a number of essentials, like torque, power, velocity, and accuracy toward given target. This is why I am spending just ten minutes a day trying to get that critical motion for any baseball player.
I’ve got to be able to rifle that ball to second base.
And on occasion, I’ve got to get enough force to have it sail from deep right field with just a couple of bounces all the way to the catcher so I throw out that the guy who took one look at me and thought his odds of being safe were pretty good with stretching that run for an extra base.
I’ve got to be able to compete with these younger guys in the PSSBL who actually have previous experience on the baseball field.
This PSSBL is a first-class operation. The uniforms, the schedules, the playing fields, the practices — to name just a few things — are the best. And after two games, I get the sense that if I don’t consistently work on improving my game, I will never get more than the minimum amount of time on the field.
I’m in for an incredible experience this summer. There will be nights when I may be sorer than I have been in a long time. There probably will be moments during this 18-game season when I learn from a mistake or two that I make on the field. There will be tests of patience as I sit on the bench for more time than I care after a long day of pre-game warm-ups and splitting time in right field with the other newcomer to the PSSBL team.
But I’m in it for the long haul.
With some good work, close attention to details, extra coaching from my neighbor and his son, Riley, a 20-year-old college baseball player at Northern State University in South Dakota who is home this summer, I will get better.
Case in point: the other night as I was heading down to Marymoor Park in Redmond for our 7 p.m. game, I stopped by the Ayers house and warmed up my arm with Riley.
Within just a couple of minutes of throwing with the kid, my throwing technique was more efficient. Like father like son.
My goal is to play the infield by the end of the season. And it’s a long season, so one never knows when I may get the chance. There may be games in the middle of the summer where everyone else is on vacation and the Raven’s team manager, Dan Ozment, looks down the bench and has no choice but to insert me in at second base.
I haven’t played the infield since I was ten; and that was a big summer for me. And I want to experience that feeling again this summer.
More instruction from Randy and Riley Ayers will get me one step closer to my summer dream.
I’m living the life of the boys of summer. How can it get any better than this?
Now, if I could only sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. And alter the vertex of my parabolic formula throws.