It's been a rainy day here and there's more rain in the forecast for today. But in the midst of vacation, I'm on a little summer nostalgia kick, thinking about the warm, sunny weather and playing baseball in the yard when I was a kid.
The only reason this Beckham "When They Were Young" card is featured here is because out of all the WTWY cards, this is the one that looks the most like me when I was little. Actually, it looks a lot like my brother. Beckham, in his current state, bears a slight resemblance to my brother. Very slight.
When we were kids, we used any excuse to play baseball. I'm realizing how different it was back then. Sure, we had organized baseball teams and leagues, but you didn't need organization to play ball then. Whenever we could, we would find our neighborhood friends and head to the local high school field and play baseball.
If we didn't have the time to do that, we'd play ball in the yard, or play catch on the walk way, or play G.A.T.S.
G.A.T.S. was a game that developed after we moved to a different city. In our old house, the yard was big enough to play baseball, even if we were always hitting the ball into the neighbor's yard. But the new house had a much smaller yard. We tried to play baseball in it. Once. A shattered window took care of that.
But we couldn't control our desire to spend every waking free moment playing the game. So we'd throw the ball against the front steps and catch it. Soon after, it developed into a full 9-inning game called "G.A.T.S," which was short for "Game Against The Steps." Yes, we were very creative.
I'm sure this isn't terribly original, but we had great fun playing it. You'd throw the ball against the steps and if you caught it, it was an out. If the ball got by you, but stayed on the front lawn, it was a single. If it got past you and you stopped it in the street, it was a double. If it traveled all the way to the other end of the street, it was a triple. If the ball sailed off the steps and landed on the neighbor's lawn across the street on the fly, then it was a home run.
Needless to say, we had some close calls with passing cars. It was a semi-busy neighborhood street.
You'd be surprised how realistic a game like that could be. You needed just two people to play and it actually required that you develop some control or you'd lose. I'm sure the steps at our house suffered some wear, although my parents never complained. I know that the porch light was shattered once because the ball would often ricochet backward onto the porch (that was a foul ball). Soon after, we positioned the second player on the porch to corral other foul balls before they did any damage.
I haven't seen one kid throw a ball against the steps since I grew up playing G.A.T.S. But we couldn't have been the only ones.
One more nostalgia post ahead, and then I'll return to good old 2010.