My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Bats and Balls
Professional baseball players are sometimes superstitious, fussy, and even arrogant at times, but when you are paid enormous sums of money to excel in a game, we mere mortals need to expect and accept the quirks of personalities. We all remember Serrano of “Major League”, using shortstop Dohrn’s golf head covers as “hats for bats”, and sacrificing a chicken (from KFC) to Jobu so he could get a hit.
In real life, there are a number of rituals and specifications. Travis Hafner of the Cleveland Indians bonks his head with a new bat and listens to the sound. I hope it isn’t distorted by ringing in his ears. Justin Morneau weighs his supply, to find only the ones that are exactly 32 ounces. Ted Williams used to travel to the Louisville Slugger factory to pick out which tree he wanted made into bats. Also, when a bat is pretty good, but not perfect, the players will rub it with the bone of a cow. I wonder why it has to be cow. Wouldn’t a walrus tusk do the job? How about the bone of a dog. There are a few in my neighborhood that I would volunteer for the task.
Personally, I think bats should have names. Model C341 just doesn’t do it for me How about a plum scented “Big Fly Agent”. Maybe a “Tater Zone”. Michael Cuddyer could use a “Shock and Awe”, and when he connects, could give it an awesome flip before rounding the bases. I expect Carlos Gomez and Nick Punto use an old Piranha when they bowl, I’m not sure of their bat choice.
Whether it’s striking out in baseball, or failing to strike in bowling, it seems we are all quick to blame the equipment. It couldn’t possibly be that we failed to execute. There are so many different bowling balls on the market these days. Many different ways to drill them also. And each one could be a little different out of the box. But in spite of what or how many bowling spheres you have in the bag, you still have to roll them with your arm, hand, and wrist. Some people change balls at the drop of a unit of oil. But if you’re not blessed with a huge arsenal, there are a number of methods to get Ol’ Betsy to knock em all down. Move on the approach, move your target, change speeds, change your hand position at release, and when all else fails, make sure to pick up those pesky spares. Then you’ll see that average rise.
I’m closing for now. I have to dig a few bowling balls out of my garage, bounce them off my head to see how they sound, and decide if they are gamers.