Thursday, March 13, 2008

Billy Ball

A beautiful spring day for a ballgame- the pitcher stares down the leadoff hitter, a rookie, at the plate. First pitch is a fastball outside. The second pitch, another fastball, is chopped just foul to the right of first base. Good swing, just a little late. The third pitch comes inside, near his hands, and tips the rookie back on his heels. He hunkers down and re-sets himself. The fourth pitch is up and outside - ball three. The rookie's worked this at bat all the way to a 3-1 count.

With a big swing at a slider, he misses. Sixth pitch is another slider - a strike out and it's over. Or is it?

he rookie, #60, is Billy Crystal, age 59.999. Yes, Billy Crystal the comedian, the lifelong Yankee fan. And I'm so very jealous. Not just because his birthday is coming up. Or because he's hilarious. Or because he made some incredible movies. Or because he hosted a very nice awards show or two. Because if only for a day, he's playing for the Yankees.

This scheme apparently got started when Crystal bumped into Derek Jeter, the legendary Yankee shortshop, while on vacation in Costa Rica. Billy was lamenting turning sixty. Derek, in his typical golden boy fashion, asked how he could make it better and voila, Yankee contract for a day. Crystal was thrilled. And petrified.

At sixty, he's trying something new. Scary, yet so very invigorating. How many of us do that? We get used to that cozy, worn spot on the couch, that comfy television show, that same old nine-to-five. Change is scary. Just breaking in a new couch can be scary. Imagine facing down a major league fastball when most people your age are playing bingo.

Billy was nervous. He did well, very nearly had a hit, but struck out. He got a standing ovation from the crowd and high-fives from the Yankee regulars.
Hey, he tried.

My chances of meeting Derek Jeter in Costa Rica are about as slim as you can get. But they're even worse if I stay on the couch. So.....

Remember the hippie vagrant in Pretty Woman - "Ya gots to have a dream. Everybody has a dream. What's your dream?" You're reading my dream. I've wanted to write professionally since before Harry Met Sally. Hopefully I didn't strike out. But if I did, so what? At least I got off the couch and into the game.

And thanks for reading this far.


Doc Rick said...

Insightful as always. A testament on his part to, if only for a few minutes, live out a childhood dream.

Anonymous said...

It's good to have friends in high places. :)

Great column, Annie.


insomniac said...

he struck out? i hate it when that happens!

just me said...

You're doin' it!!

Siouxie said...

Love it, Annie!! I so wanted Billy to have a hit. I think what he did was very inspirational and so is your column.

annie said...

Thanks to everyone, even 'just me.'