May 30, 1990, Anna Maria Island
On a quiet night . . .
By Gib Bergquist
The Anna Maria Island Little League season is fast winding down. About all that is left are the team parties, the awards banquets and the all-star games. The 1990 season will soon be history.
The Yankee Peddlers team in the minor league, piloted by Coach Jeff Tyson, Coach Kathy Granstad and the Cracker, has tasted both the sweet thrill of victory and the bitter agony of defeat. To put it mildly, on occasions, we were clobbered.
Coach Tyson is our field general and batting practice coach. The Cracker conservatively estimates that during the season, Jeff pitched 2,400 pitches to our players in practice and hit about the same number of grounders and fly balls.
With five young girls on our team, along with the ten live-wire boys, the Cracker thought it prudent to add a coach from the distaff side, because he cant stand to hear a female cry.
Coach Granstad proved an excellent choice since our dugout decorum has improved beyond all expectations. The players all knew that if their behavior was not acceptable on the team, Mrs. Granstad, who is also a teacher, could still sandbag them at school. No, just joking. The players behaved because they respect her both as a coach and a teacher.
And what did you do, Cracker? He was the equipment manager, did all the paper work, tried to keep the parents happy and passed out the bubble gum at all the games.
He would like to share with you a few observations of minor league play:
You can work for hours, days and weeks teaching players to move to the right or to the left to field a ball, and the only time they will move in a game is when the ball is hit directly at them.
You can also practice running the bases and following the directions of the first and third base coaches until you are blue in the face. Somehow, during the game, the runner becomes his own winged Mercury, trying to stretch his single into a home run as he rounds the bases completely oblivious to all the signals and shouts from his coaches.
Also, the problem of getting a player to run to the next base is equally frustrating, particularly when two players end up on the same base at the same time.
Two of the Crackers minor league maxims are a take-off on the physical laws of inertia and that of solid objects and space:
Minor leaguers in motion tend to remain in motion while minor leaguers at rest tend to remain at rest.
Two minor leaguers cant occupy the same base at the same time, but, by golly, they try.
The Cracker has observed that, in the minor leagues, hitting is contagious. If your leadoff batter hits, you are in for a good day, but, if he strikes out, its going to be a long and painful afternoon.
The coaches have tried all season to instill a sense of pride, hustle and team spirit in the Peddler team as if to say, Look, folks, were Yankee Peddlers and were here to play baseball.
This philosophy works well as long as the team is winning, but if we fall behind, the team exhibits all the hustle of a herd of three-toed sloths after a hearty meal.
The Cracker, by car, lives more than a mile from our Little League field, but as the mullet swims, it is just a few short jumps and a splash. When not at the games, the Cracker can sit on his dock and see the glow of the lights and hear the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd.
It has been just 48 years almost to the day since the Cracker hung up his spikes at ol Mulberry High and went off to fight a war.
Sometimes, in the still of the night, the Cracker can sit on his dock and hear the sharp crack of a bat and the roar of the crowd but there is no glow from the field lights.
On a quiet night you can hear yesterday.
From Cracker's Crumbs, ©1995 Gib Bergquist