Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2008

"Okay, Buddy, put your mitt on."
"No, your left hand."
"No, the other left hand."
"That's your left hand."
"Because you throw with your right hand. "
"Not a mitten, a mitt. It's also called a glove."
"A bat is the thing you hit the baseball with."
"Yes, baseball like the Cincinnati Reds. We watch—yes, like the Chicago Cubs too. We watch—right, like the Chicago White Sox."
"Yes, yes, like those other guys. Just listen. I'm trying to teach you about baseball. I want you to learn to play baseball when you're older."
"Sure, you could be a baseball player when you grow up. Or a football player."
"Depends on which one you like better."
"I like them both. It wouldn't matter to me what you played, just so long as you were happy."
"Because your mother and I haven't been planning for our retirement, so we're counting on you to become a professional athlete to take care of us in our old age."
"Never mind, I'm just kidding."
"Sure if you want to play for the Reds, you can. They're Daddy's favorite team, so that would be great. Now, just listen, please."
"You catch the ball in your mitt – right, or your glove – and you squeeze it tight."
"So it won't fall out."
"Let me toss it to you."
"Hold your mitt like this."
"No, out like this, so it's up like a bowl."
"No, hold. . . no, just. . . more like. . . just let me move your hand."
"Good, now hold it there like that. Ready?"
"Nice try, but you have to move your mitt to where the ball is."
"I know I told you to hold it there, but – never mind. Let’s do it again. Ready?"
"Good job, but don't forget to squeeze it when it hits your mitt. That way it won't fall out."
"All right! You got it. That's great. Now see if you can throw it back to me."
"Whoops. We need to work on your throwing too. Be sure to take a step with your left foot as you throw."
"No, the other leg. The other. . . no, the other. . . Just a minute. Hold up your mitt. Good, now touch the mitt to your leg. No, the other leg. Jeez, we need to work on your right and left too."
"Okay, good. Now, when you throw the ball, you take a step with your left leg – that's right, that one – and then you throw the ball."
"Good job! Now, this time try throwing it when you're looking right at me."
"That's right, it's dangerous when the ball goes into the street. That's why you should let me get it."
"I'm going to throw it to you again. Ready?"
"Why'd you move your mitt?"
"No, you're supposed to catch it with the mitt. You don't want to keep your mitt away from the ball. You need to get it in the mitt. Now throw it to me. Remember to look at me first."
"Good job, Buddy. Just remember to step before you throw next time, not after."
"Here, try it again."
"Don't move your mitt out of the way."
"Now throw it. Just remember: look, step, throw."
"Great job! That was right to me. Here it comes. Don't move your mitt."
"Sorry, that one's my fault. I threw it too gently. I'll do it better next time."
"Good throw! See, the look, step, throw works, doesn't it. Ready?"
"Ooh, sorry, Buddy. Let me see, are you bleeding? Good thing we're using a soft ball, not a regular baseball. Yeah, you're a tough guy. Let's keep going."
"Wow, way over my head. Nice try. You've got some pretty good velocity. Just don't forget to—it means speed. How fast you threw it."
"That's right. Just let me get it."
"I know I need to look both ways."
"Good catch, Buddy! You did it. That's awesome! You're turning into my little baseball player."
"No, you're not quite ready for the big leagues yet."
"Well, first you need to be older than five."
"Five-and-a-half doesn't quite get it."
"About 22."
"That's 17 years from now."
"Don't worry, you've got plenty of time to get there. Let's just keep working on your catching and throwing first."
"Good shot. That had some heat on it."
"It means speed."
"With a V. Velocity."
"No, you're not ready to bat yet. We'll do it another time."
"When there aren't so many cars and windows around."