It's the most wonderful time of the year. Baseball playoffs are in full swing. My tractor cab prepped with sunflower seeds and ice cold Squirt cans – ruling my daytime radio enjoyment the way Christopher Columbus intended. The baseball playoffs remind me of one undeniable fact: I've been striking out with the opposite sex for the entire year.
The parallels between the American pastime and my 2015 dating record are ever-present, and are a startling reminder that you are never too old to change your approach “at the plate”
We're all familiar with the old Baseball/Sex analogy; First Base – Kiss, Second Base – Fun, Third Base – More Fun and Home Plate – Slide Safely please.
Pete Rose vs. Babe Ruth . . .
I'm a seasoned veteran at this point in my career. And realize that “station to station” – move the runner over baseball – is the most effective and preferred style of play for most women. But I've lost patience at the plate. I'm not getting any younger ladies. My “batting for average” days may just be in the rear view mirror. Like many baseball players in their twilight I find myself looking to pad my RBI stats.
Does it make sense to switch batting style after what some may consider a Hall of fame career? I look at the recent success of our very own SF Giants. They are a team that relied on singles and timely hitting. It paid off in the form of 3 rings in 5 years. And ultimately, any woman that is letting you round her base paths wants the same – the ring. It's up to the skilled batter to figure a way to score runs without worrying about that looming Ring – the one that creates a guy that won't take the bat off his shoulder...and I'm a very free swinger.
But it is on the base paths that I find most of my problems. I get in quite a few pickles with my aggressive base running. When a woman allows me to reach first base – I'll often end up cutting right across her pitcher's mound, and heading directly for third – especially if I notice she isn't covering the bag – 9 times out of 10 I'm thrown out. But now and then I manage to get under the tag – safe!
In the baseball game of life, women are the pitchers. Wheeling and dealing from the mound; different deliveries, speeds, breaks, and rhythms all with one purpose: To keep men from getting too comfortable in the batter's box. And for many of my friends, comfort in itself can be a killer. I have a friend that fell into a long “batting practice” type relationship. After about a year, he adjusted his style, and started laying down bunts – taking a few steps towards first – and then attempting to turn and snore back into home plate. You're Out! Needless to say he was cut from the team, and word got out amongst the pitching ranks that he was nothing more than a AA Batter – relegated to a life in the minors.
I'm by no means a Rickey Henderson, or even a John Kruk for that matter. I tend to lumber around the bags. But I have taken my base running cues from some of the best base thieves this town has ever offered learning long ago that while it is the job of any pitcher worth her salt to keep your on first once you get there. She by no means expects you to stand on the base – they expect you to take a lead. It may take a few dates, but eventually they'll quit throwing over. And this is when a good base runner steals second. Those less adept at reading her motion, and that have been picked off a few times, should learn to listen to the base coaches; her body language, tone, and mannerisms. Within those subtleties lies the key to her pickoff move. And any great base runner knows it is not wise to rely on speed alone. Finesse is ultimately the difference between a guy that snags a base now and then – and one that reaches Derek Jeter status.
Now you're standing on second — “in scoring position” as they say. I have friends that have made careers out of being doubles hitters. Many of them are satisfied with just collecting wing man stats – team players that are happy with getting their friends across, but never see home plate themselves.
This is usually the base that I end up making some kind of base running blunder. Because the truth is, as men, once we reach second base – we forget all that we've been taught. Finding yourself in a run-down between 2nd and 3rd isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the difference between the Hall of Fame, and being the dude down at Big League Dreams talking about “...I remember when I got to start a Summer League Babe Ruth game over Ken Huckaby back in 88'” - is being prepared to play the game the right way. With honor and sportsmanship. If you are thrown out while playing good clean baseball – nobody can fault you.
And like the old adage - “Never make the first or third out at third” - no reason to ruin your chances at a run producing inning.
...but if you get caught running through base coach stop signs, or coming in to bases cleats up – remember one thing: expect to catch a fastball high and tight during your next plate appearance...and don't even think about rushing the mound in anger because most these pitchers have brothers and uncles that'll end your career before you step out of the batter's box.
Well ladies and gentlemen, the 2015 baseball season is almost over. Which means I either find a pitch to hit the next few weeks, or soon it'll be using football analogies when it comes to my dating life – and nobody wants to read about me getting “sacked” all winter.
Salutations . . .Thank you to everyone that came out to say hello at the Bookfest last week. It was great to be able to finally put a name to so many supportive faces. Hearing of favorite portions of columns – many of which I'd forgotten – and hearing that it has put a smile on a few faces, makes it all the worthwhile.
Quote of the Week...”The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made.” — Groucho Marx
“It's not Where ya do, It's What ya do”