“Cows and Bulls and Blue Bonnets – are taking me back – to the land that I love! ~ Cows and Bulls and Blue Bonnets – are taking me back – to South Texas!” – (C) Bill McCurdy, 1958.
The bluebonnet trail to Sealy yesterday didn’t exactly play out as this photo suggests, but it may have done so for somebody else at some point along the road. We never give up on the complete dream of a little baseball paradise unfolding as it always does from the back burners of our fertile minds and 24’7 devotion to the spirit of the game that is baseball – and especially vintage baseball. Yesterday the Houston Babies and the Katy Combine were guest participants in the Sealy, Texas Spring Festival at the a park near the city’s downtown area on a bright and shiny and windy spring day.
Yesterday, Saturday, March 12, 2014, it was the Babies’ turn to bring youth and vitality to the field, just as the Katy Combine had done unto the Babies only last month at the George Rance near Sugar Land with a sweep of their own. This time, our Babies prevailed, 15-9 and 10-2, behind the steady pitching of Bob Blair in Game One and the four-inning shortened game by “The Buffalo”, Larry Hajduk.
Funny thing is, it wasn’t youth that lead all batters today. The Old Carolinian, Phil Holland, lead all batters in both games by banging out 7 hits in the DH. Here’s a brief pictorial on how Babies fared at the plate in both games:
Phil Holland: 7 for 9
4 Runs, .778 BA
Alex Hajduk, 6 for 8
4 Runs, .750 BA
Larry Hajduk: 5 for 7
2 Runs, .714 BA
Austin Price: 5 for 7
2 Runs .714
Eric Blair: 5 for 8
3 Runs ..625 BA
Mike & Meghan McCroskey
2 for 3
1 Run .667 BA
Kyle Burns: 3 for 5
2 Runs, .600 BA
Ira Liebman, 3 for 5
2 Runs, .600 BA
Bob Blair & Family
Bob: 1 for 2
1 Run, .500 BA
Robby Martin, 3 for 7
2 runs, .429 BA
Alex Stubbs, 3 for 7
2 Runs, .429 BA
On the day, with copious extra base hits, but no homers, the Houston Babies team batting average for both games .632. They also scored 25 runs on the day and made many sparkling lays on the field.
The Babies welcome back the talented Eric Blair to their lineup and also send a hearty handshake newcomer Alex Stubbs for the fine game he played.
We also never cease to be amazed by the way our official radio game broadcaster Ira Liebman handles his double duty as a Babies player, It’s especially interesting to watch and listen close to Ira’s broadcast as he calls those plays he’s also simultaneously making on the field. Heres an example of Ira called the shoe string catch he made in right field in the 3rd inning of Game One:
“The left batter swings …. and here’s a low sinnking liner coming at me in shallow right. …. Run, Ira, ,,, Run! …. I need to dive … I’m diving … I’m skidding across the grass like a plane landing with no wheels. … My chin is bumping the ground. I’m also eating grass ,,, this is no good … I can’t see the ball… When am I going to stop slidding … THUMP!!! …. WAIT A MINUTE, FOLKS! … I just caught the ball for a one-bounce out three. … Man! … Am I ever going to get those fist and chest bump congrats from the rest of the other Babies for this one! … Side retired, fans. … I’ll interview this marvelous flelder after the game too … if I can catch up with him.” – Ira Liebman, RF, Play-By Play Guy, Houston Babies.
The Second Baptist Elder Ladies Harmonic Church Choir, Sealy, Texas.
Our Luncheon Concert. As we feasted on beef and chicken fajitas, and hot dogs, on the fair’s gathering place lawn, we were entertained by Sealy’s 2nd Baptist Elder Ladies Harmonic Church Choir, starting with Our National Anthem. It was our first dilemma of the day. We had been holding our food down from the wind fairly well to that point, but now we needed to stand, remove our ball caps, and hold our hand and caps over our hearts. I wasn’t sure at first how that was going to work, but there was no struggle with our choice. It’s better to lose your fajitas than it is to lose your country.
So we stood. Let go of our food. And proudly sang with the choir.And there was an abatement of the winds all the way through that last phrase, the one that concludes with “and the home of the brave.” The the winds returned. And we went back to pinning food down before we woofed it down. Victory and defeat both leave clubs with an appetite for either consecration or consolation.
The choir sang on, covering broad ground on songs that were popular during the Civil War, religious numbers, like “How Great Thou Art”, Turn of the Century diddies like “Wait Til the Sun Shines, Nellie”, and even embracing Cole Porter’s evergreen hit, “Anything Goes.”
After lunch the Babies and the Combine squared off in team egg tossing contest.
The Egg Tossing Contestfeatured a team competition between the Babies and the Combine. If you’ve seen one these events, the premise is simple. Each team forms a two line row of people who start throwing a fresh egg to their partner. If you break your egg, your two person team is out. All others back up about three yards from the first throw and try again. This cntinues until there are few teams now tossing from great distances. The Babies hung in there for quite a while, but the contest was finally won by Dave Flores and Clay Merritt of the Katy Combine.
Early in the Egg Tossing Contest, Babies Manager Bob Dorrill demonstrates his skills for safely receiving a flying fresh egg.
Credit goes to where credit is due. – Congratulations to our brothers on the Katy Combine team for showing the world one delicate aspect of the egg farm business.
Nancy of the Sealy Group awards the Lollipops that went to the winners of the Egg Tossing Contest as Clay Merritt (L) holds the winning egg over her head and Dave Flores looks on in pleasure.
Seeing that photo makes me wonder if the boys remember that Munchkin song from “The Wizard of Oz”, the one the two Munchkins proclaimed in song to new arrival Dorothy Gale of Kansas: “We represent – The Lollipop Guild, The Lollipop Guild, The Lollipop Guild. We represent – The Lollipop Guild – and we wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land.”
It was another great outing for vintage ball, but sadly, this one was clouded by an injury to the Combine’s left fielder Roy Frankum in Game One. The Babies and the Pecan Park Eagle Press send out their prayers and most positive thoughts too for Roy’s recovery. I saw it happen from our first base dugout and it wasn’t pretty. Roy seemed to make a somersaulting tumble as he tried to catch up with a fly ball. He was instantly stopped and writhing in great pain. The tumble had dislocated his shoulder and, as we later learned, broken a collar bone.
“Good Luck and Our Prayers and Best Wishes go out to you, Roy Frankum! The Houston Babies care about what happens to you and we hope you will be back on one of our shared fields of dreams at the earliest opportunity.
Try to remember too, Roy: Injuries and the setbacks of illness and aging are there for all of us, but they are wounds of the body, and are all limited and temporary, even if they seem to be in control for all time. They are not in control. With the right attitude and spirit, we adjust.
Our dreams, and the spirit that allows us to have those visions in the name of love, are the stuff of the soul – and these powerful forces will be with us forever. We correct our minds and heal from the physical limits that come down upon us. We still live for the homes of the soul, no matter what. And vintage baseball is one of those homes of the soul for some of us. It is the sand lot we thought for years we had lost when we grew up. Even those of us who can no longer play still heal from being around the game because it never stopped being a big part of who we are.
Babies Player of the Day
The Houston Babies also wish to thank Travis Price for helping us field a great team and mount a great effort today. Travis, your hitting and your fielding in yesterday’s doubleheader at the Sealy Spring Festival have led us as a team to pick you as our “Player of the Day.”
Keep up the good work. Grow up to be a good productive person. And make your parents proud.
And try to remember this truth too:. Defeat or disappointment are never failures. They are learning opportunities about what we need to do next time we face the same circumstances. The only real failure in life is the failure to learn from painful experience.
Thanks also to all the people of Sealy who brought their exhibits, music, quilting, bake off cakes and cookies, and still had time to stage a parade. And thanks to Santa Anna from the Texas History military reenactment for stopping off to watch a little vintage baseball on his flight from the Battle of San Jacinto.
And special thanks to Kristi Hajduk for serving as scorekeeper for both games. The Houston Babies and Katy Combine both appreciate the help.
To everyone else, have a nice whatever is left of Sunday!