One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound

It had been over a month since I last pitched.

On June 23, I enjoyed pitching against Jersey City. Then, on June 25, I had my first visit with an orthopedist who did as I feared he would… he shut me down.

On June 25, my baseball season ended. On June 25, my softball seasons ended. And, on June 25, my hopes for running the 2019 New York City Marathon also ended.

The orthopedist looked at my swollen right ankle, the MRI that showed tears in the Achilles tendon, and his own X-Rays. He said, “This isn’t good, Paul.” The word “surgery” came up, but he also said, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” I think the thing that made him shut me down totally was when I could perform a simple exercise in his office – standing on just my right foot and going to “tippy toes.” When I couldn’t do that, it cinched the deal.

I was given a night brace, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and little hope.

I left the office with the brace, a discouraged countenance, and a follow-up appointment.

But all of that is old news.

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 11 – Game Three)

The week leading to my third start was rainy and filled with more evening responsibilities that interrupted my throwing program, but, like in previous weeks, I was able to have a very special catch with a very special person.

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story Part 10 – RAIN!

My third start of the season was scheduled for Sunday, May 5.  We were going to be back to Wright’s Field in Bloomfield to play a different team from the area. It seems that a few towns, Bloomfield being one of them, have more than one team in the league. I was looking forward to this opportunity to see if I could build off my modest success the week before.

This would also be my first chance to pitch in back-to-back weeks – a true test of whether or not my arm, and body was up to this challenge.

It wasn’t to be.

Rain, dreadful rain, washed away our chances to play.  

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 9 -The Second Start)

It all started as a sort of lark. A few dads from my school were talking about forming a baseball team and jokingly (or not) asked me if I was interested in playing. I immediately declined. While I have played competitive men’s softball for decades, I hadn’t played baseball since I was sixteen years old. While I might be pretty good at softball (on my good days), I was never very good as baseball.  

If I had one, my prime would have been a long time ago.  I’m fifty years old, well past baseball age.  I knew that a league like that wasn’t for me.

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 5)

I woke up today, April 6, feeling pretty terrible. Awfully terrible. I still feel terrible.

But yesterday I felt even worse – even if the actually feelings were different kinds of terrible.

In the end, terrible is terrible no matter how or where it feels.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Best Books I Read in 2018

At the end of December, I always look back and review the books I read over the past year.  I have been keeping track of the books I have read since 1989.  Keeping these lists has been wonderful for it allows me to look back over the many books I have read in my adult life.  Through this exercise I get to remember great passages, great themes, and great ideas.  When I look back, I also remember the titles and authors I have particularly enjoyed which often brings me back to read those same books again.  I love reading and believe that our lives are infinitely richer through the books we read.

Here is a list of the best books that I read in 2018 with a short summary of each. (Quick note – not all of the books listed below are pictured in the graphic.)

MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2018

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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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