Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2000

Mother Nature denies our boys their right to spit

March 23, 2000

You have to love this time of year unless you're an athlete, the parent of an athlete or someone whose weekly schedule revolves around the unpredictable, spring sports calendar.

Mother Nature, as many women are prone to do, is persistent in her meddling.

She's constantly throwing the proverbial monkey wrench into the plans. A track meet on Friday very well likely might be a swim meet on Saturday, if you get my drift.

As for softball and baseball, it's a crapshoot.

Coaches go through the process. They schedule their 20 games, fully knowing that half of them will have to be rescheduled. They prepare for it by scheduling a rainout week at the end of the season, which is chaotic because all teams wind up scrambling to make up lost games.

I've seen some team play half of their season's allotment of games during a rainout week.

Plus, there's no guarantee it won't rain during the rainout week.

If I had to pinpoint the reason I left the sports page, the spring sports season might be near the top. Besides, being the editor allows me to visit the toy store (that's what the sports department is affectionately referred to in some newsrooms) anytime I want.

And that's what I planned to do last week.

I heard that the Eudora High baseball team was kicking off its season with the annual Sunflower Seed match, a scrimmage at the city baseball field that would not only give us our first glimpse at the Cardinals, but also provide them with all the sunflower seeds necessary to make it through the long and unpredictable season.

What a novel idea.

And a veritable bargain a ticket to a ballgame for a pack of seeds.

I've seen soap scrimmages before football. A bar of soap pays the admission to an intra-squad scrimmage and ensures that the quarterback won't smell bad when he meets his favorite cheerleader at the malt shop following the game.

But a sunflower seed game? That was new to me. The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. You see, we joke about it, but spitting has somehow become a by-product of baseball.

You don't see basketball players spit, which is probably a good thing. Hardwood combined with saliva is truly a sprained ankle waiting to happen. A spitting football player is destined to have a mucked up facemask. But in baseball, spitting has always been accepted.

I'd rather see a kid spitting seeds than the nasty, brown tobacco juice that we've learned can lead to all kinds of mouth problems. Besides, the Kansas State High School Activities Association did the right thing by banning snuff and tobacco a long time ago.

OK, so I was pretty fired up about escaping the office a little early last Thursday and going out to watch a little baseball. I even bought a big bag of sunflower seeds for the event, which was probably my first mistake.

Forget that the temperatures earlier in the week were in the 70s and clear the perfect weather for a ballgame. I'm sure there were a lot of people in the community heck, a lot of players, who were looking forward to a day out at the ballpark. Next thing I knew, it was raining.

Not just raining. It was pouring.

There was no way baseball would be played the following day.

Spurned again by Mother Nature.

The truly sad thing about it is that with spring break taking place this week, there is no reschedule date, meaning our Cardinals, who open play next week, will likely start the season without their season allotment of sunflower seeds.

For the record, I have a bag of seeds sitting in my desk drawer and if someone on the team wants to come pick them up, I'm more than happy to oblige.

Anything I can do to help.

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