PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

My Musings

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Magic

You may not yet know of my finest hour as a baseball player, but let me tell you about my worst hour.

I had had some success as a Little Leaguer, which you probably already figured based on how I have maintained my sporting physique throughout the decades. I played on a team sponsored by Covino Brothers in the majors division of the East Syraucse, New York Little League. My skill back then was that I could judge and catch fly balls in the outfield. Sounds easy, I know, but many of my teammates were terrible at it. I wasn't a good hitter or a particularly good fielder, but most of the time I could judge where a fly ball was going to land and arrive there before it touched earth. My little league coach thus dubbed me "Pat the Magic Glove."

Not joking.

Call this the early- to mid-1970s, so maybe ten years after Peter Paul and Mary released Puff the Magic Dragon. It is only now that I realize that my skinny coach, who yelled at us bumbling fools in a British accent whilst guzzling milk straight from the waxed carton as a remedy for a stomach ulcer, might have been referencing that song when he dubbed me Pat the Magic Glove.

It is amazing how many Little Leaguers can't catch a fly ball in the outfield. They see the ball in the sky a hundred feet ahead and immediately run toward it, only to discover that it has a secret source of extra propulsion that causes it to sail right over their heads, pushing across four runs. I encountered this situation early in my Little League career enough times that I stopped running in and just let the ball come to me. Presto! I caught almost everything that was hit at me in left or center field.

So, they made me an infielder. I was, after all, Pat the Magic Glove.

Fielding screaming grounders that will knock out your teeth if the ball takes a bad hop and shagging lazy flies involve completely different skills. I much preferred being out there where the ball comes in on a noticeable arc most of the time. In the infield, especially on the left side, the ball came off the bat at 1,000 miles an hour from only 65 feet away. But like it or not, I was now an infielder.

One day, a kid from three houses down, Eddie Franz, who was playing on an opposing Little League team, hit a grounder to me at third base, which I fielded and threw across the diamond, hitting my sprinting neighbor square in the back. It must have stung something terrible because Eddie was in tears, thanks to my awful aim. This error got into my head, and when another ball came my way, I totally booted it.

From then on, I was incapable of fielding a ball or making an accurate throw in the infield. A short time later in that same game a ball was hit between me and the shortstop that I could easily have reached, but I pretended I couldn't get to it, knowing that they don't charge you with errors when you can't get to the ball. Best to let it go than have it bounce stupidly off the heel of my glove or have me throw the ball into the stands. I heard one of the parents holler, "The third basemen didn't even try to field it!"

I was exposed. No longer would anyone call me Pat the Magic Glove. 

I survived that experience and went on to play Babe Ruth ball, and later made the high school team. But never again was I put in the infield, to my great relief.

One day I'll tell you about my finest hour. 

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They Lack That In Great Quantities

I wish I had the job of a baseball color commentator. Some of them know a thing or two about the game, having played it at the big-league level, sometimes well, but often not terribly well at all, though well enough to have made it to the biggest stage in the world before embarrassing themselves with two out in the bottom of the ninth and the whole world watching. Most don't know so much more than you or I about baseball. They just know some of the game's famous players, having showered alongside them when they were having their so-called "cup of coffee" in the majors. 

And yet, here they come into our living rooms with important-sounding titles such as "analyst," which suggests that they have received advance training to interpret your dreams or pick apart your psyche. Maybe they just know how to read data tables. In truth, they are there because fans would rather listen to former ballplayers talk about the game nostalgically and with a modicum of objectivity, rather than listen to you whine about a call that, in truth, was probably correct.

This may be how Lou Merloni, who played a bit part for his hometown Red Sox from 1998 to 2002, is allowed to "commentate" (a word that needn't ever have been created, given the existence of "comment") on Red Sox radio broadcasts now and again. This season, early on, Lou managed to concoct a phrase that I had never heard a baseball analyst utter. Speaking of the young Red Sox, Lou noted that Alex Cora's squad had "a ton of inexperience."

This turn of phrase – indicating that the absence of something – experience – was really the presence of something else – inexperience, was clever, even if Lou didn't mean it to be. It's like saying that you have an infinite amount of nothing.

Reminds me of a former roommate I had when I lived on Murdock Street in Brighton, who once replied affirmatively, sort of, to some question I had tossed his way by saying, "For sure, probably." 

Thanks for being clear. 

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Blown Away

On this blustery day of crazy winds in Boston, I find myself contemplating the B.S. that’s blowing a gale from the mouths of our Republican friends, who continue to bellow loudly of stolen elections. Do these friends believe we fell asleep amid all this wild and windy ruckus?

No chance. The howling winds have kept us awake and alert. We’re watching all the fast ones you’re trying to blow past us, and the umpires are watching as well, informing us that all those fastballs are way out of the strike zone.

In my dreams, the gusts that are about to knock down my house’s chimney (what the hell is going out there?!) blow into town and sweep away all the lies and nonsense that the opposition is attempting to build its comeback on, leaving us with nothing but facts.

And beer, of course. My homebrew is way too heavy to be carried away by even the mightiest of winds.

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Daily Haiku

 

Cats oft’ void their guts.

They cough out fur balls. They puke.  

We tread carefully.  

 

College Tuition

We dig ourselves a deep hole

Need a second job.

 

Now that I’m sixty

People think I’m a wise man

Probably, I’m not

 

I’m in my Fifties

But tomorrow I’m Sixty

Will need a sports car

 

My PCP Says

“Keep doin’ what yer doin’”

Prob’ly I should not

 

It’s St. Patrick’s Day

We eat beef that has been corned

Whatever that means

 

Robots and A.I.

I will make use of these soon

To do my taxes

 

Strange Oscar night end

Pacino failed to mention

Best pic nominees

 

Who’s this Katie Britt?

Scary. Wierd. We could have used

A Trigger Warning

 

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