Baseball is a game that is deeply ingrained with intricate fundamentals and strategy. The sport requires long and repetitive preparation. The players represent a myriad of personalities, body types, and athletic abilities. Each athlete brings superstitions, routines, and their own brand of “chatter” from the field and dugout.

Some of the funniest things I have seen and heard have been on a baseball field during games, but especially at practices. I was fortunate to play small college baseball for 4 years. There is an undeniable persona of a baseball player, and the persona stays with you; becomes a part of who you are. 

TEN WAYS YOU CAN TELL I AM A BASEBALL PLAYER

1. As a ball player, I never stepped on the chalk (the foul lines) on the way to or from the dugout. Those white lines on the side of roads look a lot like baseball stripes. So, to this day, I don’t step on those either, ever.


2. When I want to tell you there is two of something, I do not raise my index and middle finger in the shape of V, like most people. I go index finger and pinky like I was telling there are two outs.  In TX, that symbol also means “hook’em horns” for the UT Longhorns, but I assure you I am just telling there are two.


3. I can spit sunflower seeds farther than you can, upwind or downwind. I can spit them out of the side of mouth too. Like poker players that can flip the chips all around and over their fingers, I can spit seeds with the same amount of acrobatics and versatility. Let’s face it, you have a lot of time just standing around on the field to hone this skill.


4. When I go out for a run, I often take corners real tight like I am rounding a mysterious invisible base. It drives my wife, who is my running partner, crazy because I literally cut her off most times taking those tight turns. But hey, you gotta hit the inner corner of the bag just right.


5. When I drive into the sun, I don’t flip my visor down, but rather instinctively block the sun with my glove hand like I’d do if I was tracking down a long drive hit to the outfield during an afternoon game. I can see much better that way, but probably should just spring for some decent shades.


6. I know what a kangaroo court is and the terms for fines, such as for “soldiering” or getting “the golden sombrero” because I have unfortunately been fined for them.


7. I put on certain outfits the same way every time. If I am going to play in an old man softball game, I follow the same routine I did 20 years ago.


8. I am great at handing out nicknames and I love to use them, even if you don’t want one. And in fact, the more you don’t like your nickname is all the more reason to continue calling you whatever it is you are being called now. 

 

9. To me, 9 innings of baseball isn’t boring or slow. I don’t get annoyed that the fat guy in the batter’s box keep stepping out to grab his crotch or spit something or another. When you truly know and appreciate the game of baseball, you see and appreciate all the small details, the strategy and the precision.


10. When I drive by a ball field at night, I gaze up at the lights for moment. Memories from my own time as a ball player come back. I think about the players on the field and I smile knowing that they too will appreciate their own version of these “10 ways” someday.