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Curve Balls

By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 02/10/2024

I'm a pretty good fast ball hitter.  The ball comes straight, more or less.  I can judge pretty closely when and where it will arrive.  When it's heading for the strike zone, I can put a good swing on it.  Yes, sometimes I miss, or I hit it foul.  Sometimes I pop it up.  But often I hit it hard.  And I get to run.  To first base, to second, or, on rare occasions, to third.  I feel proud of my effort, even if the ball ends up in the mitt of a fielder.  

Then one day a unique opportunity came my way – a ball headed for the heart of the plate.  Licking my chops I took a mighty swing.  And I missed.  Badly.  My bat cleared the zone well before the ball arrived.  Even worse, the pitch was at least a foot out of my reach.  I had met my first curve ball.  

What a wicked pitch is the curve ball!  It can come right at me - I flinch, then I watch helplessly as it tails away into the strike zone.  That missile from hell can move away a few inches or a few feet.  It can catch the inside corner or sweep away beyond the zone.  

Even worse, it's slower than a fast ball.  If I anticipate a curve and my guess is wrong, a fast ball can blow right by me.  And I look with regret as a pitch I should have hit pops into the catcher's mitt. 

I am trying to figure out these curve balls.  I usually swing and miss.  Sometimes, I make contact, but the result seems always to be a weak grounder to the infield.  And I'm beginning to notice how tired my arms are getting as I flail away at fast balls and curve balls alike.

I've never hit for much power.  I usually get a bit under the fast balls and loft them a bit too high.  They always  fall short of the outfield fence.  But to my surprise I have yet to hit a curve ball high into the air.

One of these days I'm going to recognize a curve ball heading toward the center of the strike zone.  And I'm going to put a good swing on it.  Swinging with all my might, I will make solid contact.  And I'll watch the ball soar toward the heavens.  And clear the fences easily.

Then, finally, I will run . . . all the way home.

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