One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 4)

This is the story of my attempt, at fifty years old, and after not playing any organized baseball since I was sixteen, to have a comeback, of sorts, and return to the game in a men’s 35+ baseball league – as a pitcher.

This is the fourth installment of the series. The previous installments are listed here:

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part One)

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part Two)

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part Three)

***

Yesterday, April 3, brought with it a great deal of optimism and hope.

After work, in the early evening, I met my friend Michael Saffer to have catch. At the start of my career, almost thirty years ago, Michael was a student in my class. I had been his school teacher, now I’d be his student.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 4)”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 3)

The following is the tale of my attempt to play competitive baseball for the first time in over thirty years. Since there is no way that I can hit (I could never hit a fastball), I offered to try out for this team in a 35+ league as a pitcher.

This is the third installment of the series.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 3)”

One Last Shot…A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the story of my attempt to once again play baseball…

(Click here for Part 1 of this story.)

Buoyed by the fact that I had thrown, at least well enough with my son, I let my baseball dreams slowly grow in my mind. Here I was, fifty years old, a fifty year old man, the age long past when most people hang-up their spikes and their gloves, and I was thinking about getting mine back out, and on, and playing baseball once again.

I couldn’t wait to see what I could do.

Continue reading “One Last Shot…A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 2)”

One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 1)

I am fifty years old. I’ll turn 51 this summer. I’m no longer young. I’m not as flexible, strong, or physically able as I used to be. All of this comes with age. Of course. I’m not in the best shape of my life, but I’m not in bad shape. Last November, I ran the New York City Marathon. I was slow (4:47:47), but because I was coming off a torn Achilles and was under-trained, I was pleased. In the first Rocky movie, Rocky said, “All I wanna do is go the distance.” I went the distance. It was my 21st lifetime marathon. Not bad.

I also still play in two pretty competitive men’s softball leagues. One league is a 30+ league where I’m becoming one of the older players. I still play shortstop and handle myself well enough. The other league is a 50+ league where I play more of a utility role. That team won the league’s championship last year.

I love to play ball.

Continue reading “One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 1)”

“Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)

My first novel, Scattering The Ashes, will be published on October 22, 2019 by Artemesia Publishing and is now available for Pre-Order here.

This novel tells the fictional story of Sam Holmes as he struggles though the aftermath of losing his father and having the responsibility and obligation of fulfilling his late father’s final request.

Readers will become attached to Sam Holmes as he seeks to find himself in this trying period of his life. Initial reviews of the novel have been very positive.

Baseball is one (of many) themes that forms the framework of the story. Throughout this year, leading up to the book’s release, I will share excerpts from the novel here on these pages and on my Yankees site: www.startspreadingthenews.blog.

The following is an except from Chapter 5. In this scene, early in the novel before his father passes, Sam Homes awakes in pain the morning after his longest training run as he is preparing for his first marathon – the New York City Marathon. He is feeling doubtful about his abilities as a runner. Soon the prospect of a fictional encounter with two former baseball stars changes his outlook on the day…

***

(From Scattering The Ashes (2019, by Dr. Paul Semendinger, with permission from Artemesia Publishing)

The next morning, after I swung my legs out of bed, I realized I could barely stand.  The plantar fasciitis in my foot screamed with pain every time I put even a tiny bit of weight on it.  I had never felt such pain.  Have you ever stuck hot needles into the bottom of your foot?  I haven’t either, but it sure felt like I had.  In addition to this foot agony, everything else, especially the fronts of my thighs, seemed to ache.  I wondered if I had pushed my body further than it was able to handle.  Was twelve miles my limit?  Maybe I wasn’t built for a marathon.  Dr. Alfonzo, my chiropractor (who is also a miracle healer), advised me to always stretch before a hard run and also to always ice this injury after the effort.  Why didn’t I listen to his advice yesterday?

Continue reading ““Scattering the Ashes” Preview & Excerpt (Coming October 22, 2019)”

Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats

Earlier today, my wife and I brought our son Ethan (a big Yankees fan and the Design Manager and frequent contributor to this site) back to college for his sophomore year. 

I’m always a bit emotional and sad when I leave my kids at college.  A part of me always feels empty when I contemplate the weeks and months that they’ll be away.  I love when my sons are home, they make our home complete. 

I think the best part of my life is just being Dad. 

Continue reading “Father and Son, College, Giancarlo Stanton, and Kit Kats”

A Yankees Fan, A Red Sox Fan, and a Very Special Baseball Bat

(This story is also published at www.startspreadingthenews.blog)

We were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Amish Country, with many family members to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.

Our family started to gather in the hotel lobby so we could head off to dinner.  Sitting at the center of it all, proudly wearing his Red Sox hat, was Dad, basking in the joy of togetherness.  He had his wife and children with him – and a few of the grandkids.  My dad loves his family even more than he loves the Red Sox (although he has loved the Red Sox longer than any of us.  Dad’s love of the Sox goes back to 1946.  He met my mom in the late 1950’s and my sister and I came more than a decade after that.)

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Opening Day 2018

It’s not quite forty degrees here in New Jersey.  It’s cold.  Hand stinging cold.  It’s the cold that makes your nose and ears hurt. 

Did I mention it’s April?  I think the fact that it’s actually spring makes the temperature outside that much colder.  

At least the sun is out, though the day will remain in the low-40’s.

Yet, even with the (close to) frigid temperatures, I am excited, very excited, unbearably excited, to get outside this afternoon.  Today is the Opening Day of our softball season.  

I just love to play ball.

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It Is!

“Is this Heaven?”

“It’s… Iowa”

from Field of Dreams

***

There is a Heaven.  I know it absolutely.  I have been there.  

Now, to be clear, I haven’t been to that Heaven, just one that, to me at least, might be awfully close.

There is a God.  I also know this absolutely.  God played a big role in making my trip to Heaven a reality.  

***

A few years ago I traveled to the legendary Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa to have a catch with my dad.  I have often shared the story of how that trip came to be.  I wrote about it and have put it on both of my blogs.  The story has been published as part the book Impossible is an Illusion.  Titled “Is This?” it might be my most widely read piece (to date).  Many people, including a number of prominent authors and, I’m pretty certain about this, the President of the Baseball Hall-of-Fame have read that story.

But, I have never told the story about what happened on those magical days in Iowa in 2016 with my dad and my mom.  I shared all about our decision to go there, but I’ve never told the tale of the wonderful memories we created on a little baseball field in the middle of nowhere.

This, then, is that story…

Continue reading “It Is!”

Being a Baseball Detective

(This post was originally published on the Start Spreading the News Yankees blog.)

On Thursday night, SSTN writer Michael Saffer and I attended a live taping of Yankees Hot Stove at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, New Jersey.  It was a great event. 

The theater/studio at the Yogi Berra is a great venue.  It’s small and intimate.  A person in the audience gets the sense that the presenters (in this case the Yankees Hot Stove Team) are actually talking with you – and at times they were.

Located in that studio is a replica Yankee Stadium scoreboard.  (See the picture above.)  Each time I attend an event at the Yogi Berra Museum, I wonder what game that scoreboard is supposed to reflect.  As such, I decided that I would figure it out using the wonderful tools at BaseballReference.com, my Yankees knowledge, and some common sense.

Continue reading “Being a Baseball Detective”