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March 9, 2007

Prospectus Matchups

Little League Longing

by Jim Baker

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What sort of person would I be if I hogged this space all for myself? A pretty low-down one, indeed. Today, I've decided to give my column over to an acquaintance of mine who feels his is a voice that needs to be heard. I'll let you decide if this is so. His name is Presley Wilkes and the rest of this belongs to himů

It happens every time to me, I swear. I spend all this time writing up entries for Wikipedia and they get rid of them almost as soon as I post them. What's the deal? First of all, it's hard enough finding a topic that's not already taken. Babe Ruth? Somebody beat me to him. Barry Bonds? Same thing. The Kennedy Assassination? Done and done. Grand Theft Auto? Yup. Taken.

So what I've tried to do is find my niche and write about stuff that nobody else will put on there. Even though my stuff is totally fresh and the topics totally unique, they still yank it. What the hell? So, since you can't read them on Wikipedia, here are some of my expunged entries:

The Alumin-ator: This was the name I came up with for this excellent bat I had in Little League when I played for the Reds. It's a play on "Aluminum" and "Terminator" combined because it was made of aluminum and could "terminate" a ball. Joey Vanover will say he invented the name but it was definitely me. I can't remember what company made it but the thing rained hits all day, bro. Everyone on the team loved to use the Alumin-ator. We didn't really even need any other bats. It got stolen, of course. Word got out about its special powers. I always suspected Wesley Kovalt, the fat kid on the Pirates. Ironically, he's a cop now.

The Alumin-ator II: This is my current favorite hitting stick named in honor of the one from when I was a kid. It's got a nice thin handle and great balance. I keep it in my trunk for whenever I get the urge to stop at the batting cages. Although I haven't played organized ball since Little League, I like to keep the swing sharp in case a roster spot opens up on the company softball team.

Buzzy Bundeseri: This was the dude who coached my Little League team in my last season of eligibility. We were called the Reds although none of us were Reds fans on account of us being nowhere near Cincinnati. It's just the name they gave us. One thing was pretty obvious right from the start: this guy didn't know Jackson P. Shit about baseball. For one thing, he played his idiot son Mike at shortstop and batted him leadoff. That kid couldn't play worth a damn. If his father hadn't of been coach, he would have been one of those two-inning kids who only play because the league rules are that everyone has to get into the game. Our team was awesome but we could have been a lot better with a normal coach. We went like 10-6 but we could have been 14-2 or 15-1 if he knew what he was doing. His kid cost us at least two games with errors and never hitting anything other than girly grounders. Mr. Buzzy, as we called him, would always lose track of how many innings guys had pitched and would violate the league rule of how many innings they were allowed to throw in a week and we had to forfeit a game to the Cubs because of that. Our best pitcher was Lenny Oldman but when we really needed a win down the stretch Mr. Buzzy started this spaz named Kurt Lookins because he worked for the guy's father and wanted to kiss his shiny ass. Lookins got hammered by the White Sox and they were all like borderline special and that was their only win that year.

Mike Bundeseri: Idiot kid on my last Little League team, the Reds. I don't know much about him because he didn't go to my school and I only saw him at practices and games but I saw enough of him to know he was a complete tool. He never knew where to stand on cut-off plays and he held the bat funny with his front elbow up and his back one way down. He blew our chances to make the playoffs when he struck out with the bases loaded against the Athletics. Dork-ass.

The Cryro-Freez: Was this ice cream stand on Route 32 where we would go for ice cream after we won a game when I was on the Reds. The owner (I forgot his name) had this patented way of keeping ice cream cold which he said was going to make him rich. There's a Wal-Mart there now, so maybe he got rich from selling the land.

Lenny Oldman: Star pitcher of my Little League team, the Reds. He threw really hard. He only had one pitch because they wouldn't allow you to throw anything else but it was a good one. I think he went 7-1 that year with 60 strikeouts in 40 innings. He should have made the pros but he got in with the wrong crowd in high school, the guys who made water pipes in metal shop and he never even went out for the baseball team. Last I heard is he's homeless.

Jim Presley: All howl for the Hound Dog! - my favorite player growing up for obvious reasons. I played third base on the Reds because of him. When Mr. Buzzy, my dufus coach, wanted to move me to the outfield I dug in my heels (literally) and kept my ass on third base. "When the Mariners move Presley to the outfield, I'll go to the outfield," I said, only with a lot more cursing. I modeled my game after his.

The Reds: My Little League team - one that never lived up to its promise because of bad coaching. My first year on the team we were 7-9. We had a couple good guys like the Fenster brothers and Timmy Deldak who once hit a ball over the leftcenter field fence at Municipal Field #2 that knocked this little girl off her bike. What I wouldn't give to see that on video! But most of the guys that year weren't really into it and the coach quit at midseason when his company transferred him to Florida so we were like a rudderless ship the rest of the way losing our last five games to lame-ass teams like the Blue Jays and the Orioles. The umpires were against us too. My next year there we got some awesome guys like Lenny Oldman and the Fenster brothers' cousin Steve. Plus, Terrell Giddings who was this shrimpy guy the year before who totally sucked but hit puberty early and started rocking the house on just about every at bat. We should have made the playoffs for sure but our coach, Mr. Bundeseri was a complete wiener. The Reds really stunk after I left, not that I paid attention, but I heard they fell off to 2-14.

Mr. Skillman: Gym teacher at my junior high who cut me after the first round of tryouts for the baseball team. I never told anybody this, but I was pretty sick that day.

The Sportsman's Pal: Was a sporting goods store on Route 32 where I bought the Alumin-ator. It went out of business when the Wal-Mart opened. It's a strip club now - or so I'm told. Never been there since. They've kept the name, though.

Sprained ankle: What kept me from playing Babe Ruth league and beyond.

Jenny Syzmanski: Jenny was this chick two years behind me who lived across the street from the municipal fields and who I had my eye on for a long time until finally in high school I asked her to the prom and I thought she would be really flattered because she was an underclassman and not too many of her classmates were getting to go because only a few of them had boyfriends who were juniors or seniors like I was but she was all like "I'm busy that night" or something and I ended up having to fly my cousin in from Illinois to pretend she was my date and wouldn't you know it there's Jenny Syzmanski at the prom with Carl Lukic this guy who said maybe four words in high school not counting however many words he said to Jenny when he asked her to the prom which turned out to suck because my cousin let it slip that she was my cousin from Illinois and everybody busted on me. Jenny's a lawyer now or something. I googled her but she must be married because her name didn't come up. Not that I care.

Ultimate Average: This is a baseball statistic I came up with in Little League while playing for the Reds that combines batting average, slugging average, on base percentage and fielding average. Mike Bundeseri, for instance, had a U.A. of 1.474 which was the worst on the team.

Wilkesian Blog Central: This is my blog site which is on temporary hiatus because I'm not allowed on the internet at work anymore after those sneaky bastards monitored my activities for a whole day and put me on administrative warning and my computer at home is fried. Recent topics include: "My 12-Game Hitting Streak, Last Year of Little League," "Why Can't Pro Players Love The Game Like I Did When I Was On The Reds?", "National League Ultimate Average Leaders, 1997-2006," "10 Habits Of Bad Baseball Coaches," "Where Are They Now? Part III: Doug and Ralph Fenster," "My Favorite Women Lawyers on TV."

Related Content:  Out Of My League,  The Who,  The Terminator,  Ice Cream

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