Banned for Life
Between the ages of 7 and 14-years old, I belonged to a group built of neighborhood kids who spent the summer months playing baseball in the backyard of our buddy Chad. It was a relatively large yard which was plenty big to house our neighborhood baseball diamond for 3-4 months a year. Over the 3-4 months of summer ball we’d play here, every morning we’d meet and begin the game – which never seemed to end – and play until we heard our dads yelling or whistling for us to come home and eat with the family.
The homemade ball field was huge. Might have been 500 feet or more to dead center. First base seemed to be 100 yards away from the plate, which out of the box, you ran up hill toward. There was a small cherry tree used as second base and an old tractor tire by a swing set at the property line we used for third. Now, both Chad and I were average sized kids, and even though neither of us were extremely big, he sure was a strong fella. With all 7 or 8 of us who’d play ball over the summers at Chad’s, the home run championship battle was always between Chad and I.
The New Power at the Plate
Until the summer Chad’s cousin Jacob started popping balls in to the river we used as the center field wall. Jacob was three or four years younger than Chad and I, but he was driving the tennis balls we used to play with further than we ever had. We used the old yellow plastic bats, with duct tape around the meat of them to make for more sturdy bats, and to give the ball a little whomp when we’d hit them.
Then, on one glorious Sunday afternoon, we found out where all Jacob’s newly-found power was coming from. He had filled his yellow plastic bat with water, and wrapped it in duct tape so for us not to see the modification. Because Chad was also always the Cop when we played Cops and Robbers on the bikes, and it was his yard after all, he named himself commissioner and handled the situation.
BANNED FOR LIFE
After a few days had passed, with no games played mind you, no longer was Jacob able to play ball with us over the summer months. And as odd as it may seem, for the following 4-5 years, we kept playing, all the while without Jacob.
Speaking of banned for life, L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, has just been banned for life from the NBA for comments he made about a certain people which haven’t gone over as good as he may have hoped. Listen, when you tell your mistress not to bring a certain type of people to watch the basketball team you own, you really should make sure there is nothing to record the garbage spilling from your mouth. Oh well. Too late now to remedy the problem. But you have just been inducted to the Hall of Fame of People Banned From Things.
Other members include:
Jacob – Backyard Baseball Association of River Knoll, player, Banned 1994, life; loaded baseball bat.
Pete Rose – Major League Baseball, coach/player, Banned 1991, life; gambling.
Marge Schott – Major League Baseball, Cincinnati Reds owner, Banned 1996, life; slurs against African-Americans, Jews, Asians and homosexuals.
Sinead O’Connor – Saturday Night Live, singer, Banned in 1992, life; tearing a picture of Pope John Paul II in half.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson – Major Leage Baseball, player, Banned after the 1919 World Series, life; for throwing the World Series, but also being the only player of the Chicago Whitesox who DIDN’T throw the game.
Frank Filchock and Merle Hapes – National Football League, New York Giant players, life; throwing the 1946 NFL Championship game.
Stanley Wilson – National Football League, Cincinnati Bengals player, life; repeated use of cocaine.
Justin Bieber – Las Vegas Indoor Sky Diving, musician*, life; not paying for the jumps he and his buddies made/not promoting the shop per agreement.
Giorgos Katidis – Greek National Soccer Team, AEK Athens, midfielder, life; after scoring a goal, he ripped off his shirt and using a Nazi salute toward the crowd.
* I use this term loosely. He is not a musician. He is barely a singer.