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EST. May 2000 (AD)

 
 

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Shape Up With Baseball!

By Mike Boone

For those of you who are really looking to have some good, old-fashioned fun out in the fresh air and sunshine nothing quite beats your open-air beer garden - but you're too fat, so you're stuck with adult league baseball - one of the few team sports where drinking beer is actually a part of the game.

After you've signed up and joined a league, you must compete with the other out- of-shape wannabes for one of the positions on the team. But which position?

Benchwarmer

Benchwarmer is good but it's not without its responsibilities. You will have to excel at scratching yourself, chewing snuff and spitting. It takes a certain flair to look cool while warming the bench and don't forget the calories you use are in direct relation to where and how often you scratch.

Catcher
This position is one-step up from benchwarmer, except you might be asked to squat. On the upside, you get to wear the protective equipment but on the downside, you might also be required to prove that you can actually fit into the protective equipment. Most of all you will have to be able to squat.


Pitcher
This is the most sought after position after benchwarmer. As the hurler, you will get plenty of exercise as well as ample opportunities to make direct eye contact with members of the opposite sex. The only requirement will be to demonstrate a firm grip on the ball. Just follow a few easy directions and that part will become a snap.

Practice first with a low calorie orange. Putting the stitching arc at one side spread your index and ring fingers across the seams. Place your thumb underneath, creating a gap between it and the forefinger. Tuck your pinkie finger under your middle finger for support. Do not squeeze. To throw, extend your pitching foot forward until the cleats overlap, and then pull your stationary foot back. Shoulders should be parallel with your hips. Flex the knees, relax, place your weight on the balls of your feet and pay the cashier for the orange. Go home. Lie down. What could be simpler? Except maybe shortstop.


Shortstop
Shortstop is often considered the glamour job of the team. You are responsible for initiating all the rich and vibrant infield chatter that makes the game come alive for the fans.

EXAMPLES OF INFIELD CHATTER

 


First Base

This position burns the most calories, as this is the person required to argue with the ump. A good first baseman can possess more entertainment value than the hottest pitcher in the league. In his day, Jimmie Foxx could vehemently contest a ruling on a foul tip while still managing to sneak in enough confusing data on the infield fly rule to reduce even the most seasoned umpire to so much blubbering, burbling, babbling balls of belly button butter. (This, by the way, tastes pretty darn good on toast.)


Second Base

Second base is for losers. No matter where you have to throw the ball, it's too far.


Third Base

Too dangerous. If you doze off for even an instant you could get your bridgework rearranged by a crisp line drive.


Fielders

This was always thought to be the ideal position. That is until the advent of the portable, handheld video camera. Nowadays every blooper reel has at least ten examples of fielders running into each other or running into the fence or losing their pants or lying in a pool of blood with a compound leg fracture screaming for help while the benchwarmers are using the cold packs to chill their beer and encouraging them to walk it off.


Hitting

Everyone gets a turn at bat so I may as well touch on that subject as long as you've read this far. Batting can be broken down into twenty-one basic components.

1. Philosophy

2. Attitude

3. Motivation

4. Bat selection

5. Approach

6. Hitter's triangle

7. Stance

8. Strength

9. Grip

10. Physics

11. Bat angle

12. Pitch selection

13. Tracking

14. Concentration

15. Weight transfer

16. Rotation

17. Swinging

18. Follow through

19. Bunting

20. Release

21. The tantrum you throw when you strike out


Let's focus on number twenty-one. It's important to recognize that only a rookie will give him or herself away by slamming down the bat and crying. No, no good. Here's how it should be done.

Allow the drama to build by remaining dead still. Stand at the plate and stare out into left field. Hold the bat at your side. Slowly loosen your grip until the bat slides dramatically to the ground. Without fully releasing your grasp, stamp your feet and scream.

Using a two-handed, reverse grip, pound the bat on the ground until something breaks. (This will require some practice to get it so that it looks sincere and spontaneous.)
Drop to your knees and smash your head against home plate several times. Now, and only now, should the tears begin to flow.

This is the critical point, when you start to roll around on the ground tearing at your clothes and hair, which signals the coaching staff to rush onto the field and carry you back to the dugout. If done correctly, this will burn four or five hundred calories on even the most routine pop out.

Baseball - great exercise, great sport, matched, perhaps, only by the bank holiday Desperate Housewives all-day marathon.

©2006 Mike Boone

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Boone graduated from the Visual Language Interpreter Training program and published an article, Interpreting: The Development of the Profession, in an alternative communication magazine. He realized that writing was his own preferred form of communication. He went on to have humor pieces published in the likes of Rampike magazine and the Knucklehead Press. You can locate his screenplay parody in the March 1, 2004 issue of the online Ezine, Fools Motley. In 1998 he won first prize in the comedy category of the American Songwriting Competition. He's just finished his first book, Mike Boone's Guide to Dieting, a send up of diet/fitness books.