I played baseball from ages 5 to 12, so not technically little league, but I still have a lot of fun memories. This was the mid-90's
My first story involves an embarrassing moment I never knew about until it was all over. I was 10 or 11, the age when I really realized that boys were boys and girls were girls and I had no idea how to deal with that. I was pretty scrawny for my age but athletic, and on this day we were late getting out the door to a game. I had to rush down to the laundry room, grab my jersey and pants out of the dryer, get dressed, and run out the door. I remember thinking that my uniform didn't feel right, but was in too much of a hurry to dwell on it.
We got to the field and the teams were already warming up. I grabbed my glove and ran out there and started playing catch, then fielding pop-ups, then grounders. It was while fielding grounders that I finally got over worrying about how tight my uniform felt. I figured it just needed a good breaking in and I felt fine. I remember it was a breezy day.
I had a good game, had a few hits and got to play infield. I was strutting, because I never got to play infield, so I made sure I always got in a good, low, athletic stance. I made a few plays, got a few outs, and before I knew it the game was over. I don't remember who won, but since I played well I felt good. By that time my mom had left with my siblings to take them to their ball games, so it was just me and my dad. Since I had that good feeling going, I asked my dad if I could go get a snow cone from concessions before we left. He didn't want to wait in line, so he gave me some money and told me he'd meet me at the car.
While I was standing in line, I heard the sound that is magical-yet-terrifying to prepubescent boys everywhere: giggling girls. I turned around and there were two girls standing behind me. The smiled at me and giggled again, which made my day even better. I turned around, thinking to myself, "They must've seen the game." With all the casualness I could muster, I turned around again to make sure. They smiled even bigger and giggled even more. "Oh yeah," I thought, "they saw me play." I got my snow cone and was feeling pretty darn good about myself, so as I turned around I tried something I had never done before. I looked the girls right in the eye with all the smoothness I could muster and said, "Hey." They burst into a mad fit of giggles. I felt like a stud.
I strutted through the park back to my Dad's car, licking my snow cone and nodding at everyone who made eye contact. They all smiled back at me, obviously impressed by the confident young ball player before them. I got to the car, opened the door, sat in the front seat, grabbed my seatbelt, looked down to buckle it, and I saw it:
My white baseball pants had split wide open.
In my rush to get ready for the game, I had grabbed my younger brother's baseball pants. They were several sizes too small. I must've ripped them during warmups. I played the entire game, in my athletic stance, with my tight white BVDs displayed for all the world to see. I realized why it felt like such a breezy day.
Incredibly, I shrugged it off, glad I hadn't realized it during warmups, on the field, at the plate, or God-forbid while talking to the pretty girls. It was an unprecedented moment of maturity for a guy who didn't have a lot of them. My dad saw what was going on and simply said, "I guess we're going home, huh?"
My last story involves actual baseball. It was the summer after 4th grade. I was a pretty sad ball-player until then. I had started out great at the 5 year old level, but my catching and hitting skills just didn't progress like my running and throwing did. I might've actually gotten worse. I kept playing because I loved it, and because my dad was a baseball player and I just had to be like him, but I knew I stunk. 4th grade changed all of that though.
I got glasses.
All of a sudden, I realized that people could see the blades of grass and the leaves on trees. They could watch TV from anywhere in the room. Most importantly, when they played baseball, the ball wasn't actually blurry because of how fast the pitcher was throwing it. You could see the ball. All the way to your bat.
Suddenly, I figured out how to hit.
The first game was amazing. I got up to the plate, took a few swings, watch a few balls, and then connected with the ball right in the sweet spot of the bat. I didn't even feel the contact, the ball just exploded into the air. I actually stood on home plate watching it fly away when I heard my mom in the stands yell, "RUN!" I put my head down and ran.
I remember rounding 1st base and thinking, "That ball is still flying, man I hit that hard!" So I put my head down and picked up the speed. Everything was a blur around me as I stepped on second at full tilt and headed to third. I didn't look up until I was almost at third and saw the 3rd baseman waving his arms in despair. I rounded 3rd and headed home. The catcher was nowhere in sight! I crossed the plate triumphantly, the fans going wild. It was my first home run.
When I got in the dugout, all my teammates were slapping me with their gloves and rubbing my head and giving me high-5's. I sat down with the biggest smile on my face as my dad came into the dugout and gave me a big high-5, saying, "Way to go!" I responded as logically as I could, saying, "Does this mean I get a new bike?" I still remember the confusion on my dad's face, and to this day have no idea why that came out of my mouth. That was the first time I got a game ball from the coach, which I dated and signed: My First Home Run.
I later found out that it wasn't really my first home run; it was my first single with two errors. According to my parents, I should've stopped at 1st, but I wasn't looking at any of the base coaches. I should've been out at 2nd and 3rd, but the other team overthrew the play both times. It didn't make me feel one ounce worse about it though. I still have that baseball.
I only ever hit one other home run. This one was the real deal, and I have that ball too. The next summer my family moved, and I missed the baseball season. The summer after that my family moved again, and I missed it again. By then, 7th grade, I didn't know the kids very well and was scared to tryout and meet new kids.
I never played baseball again. I played high school soccer and basketball, and played college soccer.
I think my memories of playing baseball are still the most fun sports memories of my childhood.
Long live baseball.