Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .

Friday, July 8, 2016

Babe Diane

Summer = baseball.
I love baseball.
Let me rephrase that.
I LOVE baseball.
I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s because you get to beat an inanimate something with a thick, wooden stick.
In the summer sunshine.
Or maybe there's just something 'magical' about the game.
But I am getting ahead of myself . . .
I played a bit.
Grade school.
High school.
But I didn’t play regularly until long after I had married and had a family.
It was then that I spent three glorious summers in a mixed league.
And it was fun.
Oh, I wasn’t one of their best players.
In fact, I spent most of my time out in right field.
Praying that the other team would hit the ball anywhere but to me.
In fact, the only place where I was competent was in the batter’s box.
And even there, only competent--good for a base or two.
Until that night.
Let me tell you about it . . .
It was a clear summer evening.
The mosquitoes weren’t too bad.
The sun was setting, but the field was situated such that it wasn’t in anyone’s eyes.
The shadows were lengthening.
The sky was trying to decide if it wanted to be cerulean blue or glorious orange.
My team was at bat.
Well . . . I was at bat.
The other team eyed me curiously.
I hadn’t done too badly in the field, but really hadn’t distinguished myself.
A couple of the guys moved in a bit.
The pitcher glanced around at the two players we had on base, then looked at me.
He went into his wind-up, which, in slow pitch, isn’t.
And flipped the ball at me.
I swung.
And felt the sharp crack and the burst of exhilaration as bat met ball.
And that’s when the first surprise of the evening dropped every jaw on my team.
Including mine.
That ball sailed out over the heads of the outfielders.
Way out.
Way, way out.
A triple.
It would have been a home run, except I’m old.
I brought in both of our runners and settled myself firmly on third base.
Then grinned as my team cheered wildly.
The next hitter brought me in and I was met by many slapping hands.
The good kind.
An inning or so later, I was again facing the pitcher. I grinned as the fielders moved back slightly in a she-did-it-once-but-is-this-going-to-be-a-habit sort of way.
They didn’t move back far enough.
Another triple.
Sometime later, I again stood in the hot spot.
This time, the entire outfield moved back.
Way back.
It didn’t matter.
This time, it was a home run.
That ball went far enough that even my aged legs could toddle around all the bases.
We won the game.
But that didn’t matter.
Because for the first – and only – time in my life, I felt like a real ball player.
I had watched as the opposing team moved back to the far reaches of the field and knew they were doing it because, and I quote, ‘This girl can hit!’
I don’t know what happened that night.
Maybe there was some charmed quality in the clear air.
Maybe the spirit of Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays or Babe Ruth had wandered in for a visit.
Maybe I was channelling my Mom.
Maybe I just had a pitcher I could hit off of.
All I know is that it was magical.
It was my night.
My only night.
And I’ll never forget it.


  1. Great story! I can't play worth a darn but I love watching Baseball.

  2. I'm a Red Sox fan. Not a baseball fan so much but a Red Sox fan.
    And now I'm a Red Sox fan AND a Diane fan. I'll vote for you for the Hall of Fame.

  3. Sometimes all the stars line up and we get a wonderful memory to relive again and again. Well told!

  4. The only thing I ever wanted to hit with a thick wooden stick was the boy down the road, whose favourite pastime was letting the air out of tyres. Cars, bikes, trucks, he didn't care, but the bikes of kids who rode to school were his #1 choice.


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