Thursday, January 19, 2012

No. 868 – Oceans

Performer: Pearl Jam
Songwriters: Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Eddie Vedder
Original Release: Ten
Year: 1991
Definitive Version: None

Scott and I had such an excellent time in Toronto in 1991 that we decided to go back for a longer trip in the summer of 1992. We had a full schedule planned out: Scott would drive up from Columbus on Thursday and we’d head to Torch Lake for the weekend the next day, then drive back to Flint Sunday in time for the softball game and head out to Toronto the next day for the week.

I had introduced him to Pearl Jam earlier that summer, so obviously Ten was on the tape player as we drove up to Torch Lake. I don’t remember much about the first leg of the trip, but I sure remember the Sunday.

The 1992 softball season wasn’t nearly the success that 1991 had been for a number of reasons—one being that I had totally lost it as a pitcher. I couldn’t find the strike zone and couldn’t put anything on the ball as a result, because I had screwed up my motion.

At practice that year, to amuse himself, Bill had taken to trying during batting practice to rip line drives back through the box and nail me. Why he thought this was a good idea only he knows, but it got to the point where I’d let go of the ball and reflexively crouch down in fielding position, so the ball wouldn’t rocket off my dome. Unfortunately, that tendency carried over to the game fields. It got to where my natural inclination after letting go of the ball was to just about duck, and you can’t pitch that way. Well, you can, but you won’t have much success.

So I had a brutal year, and as it would turn out, the Toronto trip marked the end of my pitching days in the Grand Blanc coed league. I’d love to be able to tell you that I went out with a bang and shut down the opposition in all three frames of my final game. The truth was slightly different. I don’t remember how many runs I gave up in my final inning, but at least it wasn’t so many that the inning ended because we allowed the league maximum, which I recall was 12. I guess I can say that I got the final batter I faced out.

After that debacle, I needed a Labatts or three. The good news was a huge group of us were headed to the Cobblestone Lounge afterward for a team dinner and a round of volleyball. And we’ll pick up the story there at a later date.

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