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Play ball!

Oh boy, for all the memories!

I always find it interesting to analyze myself. Of course, that leads to many pitfalls, pratfalls and pitiful actions. However, thee are those shining times when all of those “P” words are replaced with smiles, sipping, shaking with laughter and a sense of having accomplished, at least, something.

During this time of the year, my self analyzing takes me to my memory bank of baseball. In all honesty, I never played a game of baseball — I played basketball. Growing up, baseball came at the wrong time of the year — planting season — and that called for all hands to be on deck to help in getting those seeds into the ground as quickly as possible.

I was gifted a softball glove one Christmas and we became very good friends. I molded the glove to my hand and felt very comfortable using it as I played with myself — yep, myself. My sisters weren’t interested in playing with me so I tossed the ball into the air, caught it and then, one day I discovered a tennis ball in our garage.

Let’s see … it’s about 60 feet from the pitching mound in baseball to home plate. I paced off about that distance from the garage door and scratched a “pitcher’s mound” into the dirt. I’m not sure how many tennis balls I wore out but for many years, I threw pitches onto the garage door. And, yes, the garage door began to show some “wear!”

But I threw my fastball, curve, off speed pitches along with my really amazing knuckleball and beat the paint off the garage door. I loved the game and the Minnesota Twins became my favorite team. I have fond memories of watching Harmon Killebrew hit home runs showing the same face as when he made an error at first base. I liked that stoicism. And, in one of his last games and at the old Met Stadium, I watched Mickey Mantle hit a feeble ground ball to second base and limp to first base even though the ball had arrived long before he did. I liked that dedication.

When our kids arrived, I played catch with them as soon as I could. I played with all four of them but our oldest son was the baseball player and I hit a lot of fly balls and ground balls to him to practice how to field them. We played catch every year — except for last year when we couldn’t get together — and this summer that tradition will continue or there will be something to pay!

I did play some fast pitch softball just before I went into the military. I was the third baseman and was not always great at the position — this is one time when those before mentioned pitfalls, pratfalls and pitiful actions came into play! Yet, I did all right and built many good memories playing the game. At one of our slow pitch games, I got to be on the field with all of our kids — I still see that field to this day.

Just last week the Major League Baseball season began and hopefully, I’ll be at a Twins game this summer with my family. The oldest son I spoke about earlier gave me a 2020 home opener day ticket for Christmas in 2019 and we all know what happened last year. That ticket will be used this year! Play ball!!

Memories … so many things in our life fall into that category today and my fondness for wine falls into that playbook. To be honest, I’ve had over 50 years of study, tasting and thinking about wines but, like my fondness for baseball, my fondness for wine never ceases. Like the game, wines can bring joy, disappointment and calming. But, it’s the experience that counts…

The experience like having a glass of 2019 Augey Bordeaux. It’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon and is semi-sweet. When chilled it’s great tastings of apple and other citrus is like the joy one gets when fielding a very hot and fast ground ball at third base!

It’s nice to have a bit of Joel Gott’s Chardonnay when watching a baseball game, too. Its taste is unmistakably what one expects from this type of wine — don’t expect a fast ball here. Just enjoy the delicate creamy taste and you have to love the taste and aroma of melon — it’s like waiting on a slow curve ball … wait … wait for the taste!

It’s time for a bit of refreshment. It’s only the fifth inning and the Twins are ahead by four runs but as we all know, there are still four innings to play. One never knows and it’s that commonality that never ceases to interest me — in spite of the pitfalls, the pratfalls and the pitiful actions of some of the game, there’s always that part that brings smiles and laughs to your shaking belly!

Baseball is like life … so let’s play ball!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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