The Crack of the Bat, the Roar of the Children

Erik is out of the office this week, so to celebrate Major League Baseball's Opening Day, we're reprinting a column from 2005, back when the Fort Wayne Tin Caps were still known as the Wizards.

"Okay, is everyone for our first baseball game."

"That's right, Buddy, baseball. Check it out, he says it every time I do."



"Okay, that's enough."

"Where does everyone want to sit? Honey, you sit between me and Mommy. Sweetie, you sit next to Mommy, and Buddy, you can sit on my lap."

"Is everyone settled? Okay, now we can watch the baseball game."

"Yes, baseball."


"Okay, that's enough."

"I could eat. What are you getting?"

"I'm watching the game."

"We actually came here so I could teach my kids about my favorite sport, not stand in line."

"Will you answer every single question they have?"

"A hot dog and a Coke. And peanuts. It's not a baseball game — yes, Buddy, baseball — without peanuts."

"What's that, Honey?"

"The Fort Wayne Wizards."

"Not Lizards. Wizards."

"No, that's their mascot."

"Dinger the dragon."

"A dinger is another name for a home run."

"A home run is when a guy hits the baseball out  — yes, Buddy, baseball —  of the park. He gets to run around all the bases and he scores a run for his team."

"Yes, Honey, they're all happy when he does that."

"That's the pitcher, Sweetie. He throws the ball to the catcher. He wants to keep the batter from hitting the ball."

"If the batter hits the ball, he tries to see how far he can run. He wants to get to as many bases as he can before the other team gets him out."

"Then he has to go sit back down."

"No, he's not in a time out."

"Do you see that guy with the bat? He's batting for the Wizards — no, Honey, Wizards. We want him to get a hit."

"Alright! And it's — oh no, the outfielder caught it, so he's out."

"No, Honey, he's not sad. He gets another turn later."

"Okay, next batter."

"Good cut! Alright! He's on first."

"Because that's as far as he could run."

"No, he's not tired. The other team would have gotten him out if he had kept running, then he would have to sit down too. Once three of our guys get out, the other team gets to bat."

"Eight more times each."

"Shoot, double play!"

"That's when the other team gets two of our guys out at once."

"Well, when the guy on first is — oh thank God, Mommy's here with the food."

"Yes, you can all have some peanuts. Just eat your dinner first."

"No, Sweetie, I don't know who that man is."

"No, I don't know who he's calling a bum."

"That's just what happens at baseball games. People can be jerks."

"Yes, Buddy, baseball."


"Okay, that's enough."

"So now our team is on the field, and it's the other team's turn to bat."

"No, Honey, Wizards."

"Our pitcher wants to keep their batter from hitting the ball. If he hits it, those other men will try to keep the batter from running too far."

"No, they won't tackle him. That's football."

"Yes, Buddy, football."

"Well, they're supposed to catch the ball and throw it to the man covering that base. Then that guy tries to tag him out."

"No, they won't hit him. That's boxing."

"You'll just have to watch. I'll try to explain it as we go along."

"Ooh, good hit. Now watch that man way out there. He caught it! That means that the batter is out. If he can catch the ball before it hits the ground, the batter is out."

"That's just part of the game."

"Okay, new batter. Let's see if we can keep him from getting a hit."

"Well, no, not us. The team. They're the ones actually playing the game. We're just here to watch."

"Because it creates a sense of hometown pride and camaraderie and — never mind. Just watch the game."

"Excellent! He struck out. That's two outs."

"That means that he missed the baseball  — yes, Buddy, baseball —  three times. Just one more batter and the Wizards are back up to bat."

"No, Honey, not the Lizards. The Wizards."

"Is everyone finished with dinner? Who wants peanuts?"

"Yes, Buddy, peanuts."


"Okay, that's enough."

Photo credit: Cory Luebke of the Fort Wayne Wizards, by Mwlguide (Flickr/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons) Special note: As of this writing, Cory Luebke is currently a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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