Al Ainsworth.com

Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

Ballgame Banter: A Coach Dave Season Five Excerpt

Ballgame banter

Ballgame Banter

Ballgame Banter

Ballgame banter–it’s part of the fun of watching ballgames, particularly baseball. I enjoy the various ways to describe the action on the field, especially with another baseball lifer. Throughout the Coach Dave series, I have included some ballgame banter from the dads down the fence. In Season Five, the dads have moved behind the backstop with their wives and other fans of the Southburg Eagles, so they have to occasionally interpret their lingo.

A Prediction About Coach Dave Season Five

There will be over two million books published throughout the world this year. While I would not be so brash as to call my entire book unique among two million books, I will confidently prognosticate that mine will be one of very few–perhaps the only one–to include the term duck snort. It’s part of the ballgame banter of chapter nine.

Here, enjoy an excerpt from Coach Dave Season Five: The Next Level.

(If you haven’t started on the Coach Dave series yet, click here to start on Season One.)

The Duck Snort Chapter

The Southburg Middle School Eagles took the field against Washington Central with Wyatt Logan on the mound. The Colonials, who looked impressive in their championship season the previous year, faced their usual roster makeover in the off-season. Most of the previous year’s team was now populating the Washington Central High School ninth-grade team. The Colonials’ summer team had been solid but had only defeated Southburg once in several tries. However, adding Keith Rankin and Billy Henderson brought a competitive balance to the top tier of the middle school league. Rankin finished his warm-up tosses in the Washington Central bullpen moments before the home plate umpire declared, “Play ball!”

Wyatt ran into immediate trouble when the Colonial leadoff batter fouled off a number of pitches before singling to center. The number two hitter bunted him to second, and Rankin stepped to the plate. Wyatt nibbled around the corners of the plate before walking him. Billy Henderson dug in with two on and one out and eager to do damage against his former team. Wyatt fed him a steady diet of off-speed pitches, inducing him to spin a weak line drive just over L.C.’s glove into short right field to load the bases.

“Dadgum flare,” Rooster groaned.

“Dink,” Charlie said.

“Bloop,” said Jon Ellington.

“Chinker,” I said.

“Texas Leaguer,” Hunter said.

“Dying quail,” Dean said.

“Duck snort,” Rooster added.

“Winner!” Hunter declared.

Kate shook her head. “You guys are a piece of work.”

Wyatt started the next Colonial batter with a fastball up and in that spun him off the plate, setting up his next offering low and away. The hitter was out in front of Wyatt’s change-up, hitting a one-hopper to Hunter near the bag at third. He stepped on the bag and fired to first to complete the double play. Wyatt waited for Hunter near the mound to slap gloves before sprinting to the first base dugout.

Wyatt dug in from the left side against the righty Keith Rankin to lead off the bottom of the first. Like his Colonial counterpart, Wyatt slapped several pitches foul before slipping a line drive inches past the third baseman’s glove down the line. He made a wide turn around first but retreated quickly when the left fielder hustled to the ball and flung it to second. He was off on the next pitch, however, stealing second while L.C. squared to bunt, pulling back as the pitch crossed the plate low for ball one. On the next pitch, L.C. squared again but pulled back from ball two high. With a 2-0 count, Smokie Brandt ran through the signs, wiping off the bunt. L.C. did his job, rolling a grounder to the second baseman to move Wyatt up to third with one out.

Keith Rankin pitched around Bo and Bryce, walking both to load the bases for Hunter. The Colonial pitcher fired a fastball that just caught a part of the outside corner for strike one.

“Nipped the corner,” Rooster grumbled.

“Caught the edge,” I said, looking sideways at Kate.

“Painted the black,” Hunter said.

“Stop,” Kate said, shaking her head.

After taking two off-speed deliveries just off the plate, Hunter took a big hack at the 2-1 pitch, fouling it straight back. Rankin hit his spot with a 2-2 breaking ball to freeze the righty slugger and record the second out. David Wayne strode to the plate to attempt to squeeze some runs from a rare opportunity against the Washington Central ace.

Rankin’s first pitch was a down-the-middle fastball, and David Wayne didn’t miss it. His line drive to right scored Wyatt. Bryce was off on contact and rumbled around third, trying to add a second run. Billy Henderson caught the ball on one hop in right and gunned a perfect one-hop throw to the plate. Bryce was out by three steps. After one inning with plenty of base runners for both sides, Southburg led 1-0.

Rooster shook his head. “Hit it too hard.”

Hunter agreed. “He squared it up, for sure.”

“It was a seed,” I said.

“A pea,” Dean added.

“A frozen rope,” Charlie said.

“You guys spend way too much time together,” Kate said.

Both pitchers settled into an easier second inning with both sides going down in order. The Colonials tied the game in the top of the third when a two-out routine grounder rolled by Hunter and Bo, avoiding both of their diving attempts by inches.

“Ugh, a dadgum seeing-eye single,” Rooster grumbled.

Kate tilted her head. “A what?”

“It had eyes,” I explained, “like it knew where to go.”

“Why don’t you just say that?”

“Gotta learn to talk the baseball lingo if you’re going to hang around us,” I picked.

“Hey, we were doing just fine with you guys in your little man group on the other side of the dugout, out of sight and out of mind,” she teased. “You’re the ones who decided to join us.”

Rooster joined in. “Might as well bring a little fun down here, Kate, ol‘ girl.”

Wyatt interrupted our banter with a strikeout to end the Colonial side of the third. The Eagles came to bat with Wyatt, L.C., and Bo due up.

Wyatt slapped a knee-high line drive up the middle on the first pitch he saw, but Rankin stabbed it before Wyatt could take his first step toward first base. L.C. followed with a long at bat that he turned into a walk. Bo showed bunt on the first pitch, and L.C. bluffed a steal but returned to first on a ball low. Bo squared again on the next pitch, and Rankin spiked it in front of the plate, advancing L.C. to second. Bo rolled a grounder between first and second on the next pitch. The first baseman ranged far to his right, speared the grounder, and tossed the ball to Rankin covering first to nab Bo by half a step as L.C. moved over to third.

Kate groaned. “Oh, that one almost had eyes. How’s that, Rooster?”

“Now you’re getting the hang of it,” Rooster said. “Now if we could get a Baltimore chop to get that run home. If Coach Dave was here, we might even see a two-out suicide.”

“Stop it.”

Fun in Community

The fun of ballgame banter is that it cements a feeling of community. I remember sharing–even creating–baseball lingo with my teammates in high school. Years later, I have enjoyed going back and forth with others in the baseball community who picked up the same lingo from different teams.

As a matter of fact, one of those conversations reminded me of the term duck snort and spawned the ballgame banter in the chapter above.

 

 

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

What do you think?