There is a discussion between several players at the center of the indoor facility’s faux baseball field. One is wielding a tape measure; another holds a roll of colored industrial tape, while still others gather about peering over shoulders to resolve the latest housekeeping regulation. There has been a slue of no-hitters in recent weeks, and the pitching mound’s distance from home plate is being reconsidered. Several participants sit on the plastic chairs that run alongside the facilities left wall, for they could care less about such technicalities. On this random Monday afternoon in the Ironbound, I sit idly awaiting the group’s final determination, while sweating as if I had already played our scheduled two three inning games for the week. Old friends, new friends, and random ringers all gather in this indoor facility on the five corners of Chestnut Street to participate in our own summer ode to America’s pastime. One caveat, it is a wiffle baseball league.
A few months prior, I received an urgent text from a close friend. The attorney in me thought the worse, yet when I get in contact with Jack he informs me that he needs to fill slot positions for a summer wiffle ball league. He is insistent that it is just for fun, and as such I acquiesce all too willingly to participate. I should have known better, Jack is a great salesman.
It only hit me how intense this league was after receiving the weekly email from Jack’s real estate assistant. Jack, who is currently my realtor on the sale of my property, has his secretary contact me whenever additional information is needed. I had just renewed my listing agreement with his offices, and so the email struck me as odd. I opened it, only to find that it was an excel spreadsheet detailing all the first week’s stats. The current standings, batting averages, pitcher’s strikeouts, and the like were all neatly assembled for my dissemination.
I have yet to understand the break on a wiffle ball. As of this week, I lead the league in strikeouts; however, it has become something I truly look forward to participating in every week. The little leaguers, who play their games in the field outside, come in after their games to watch the old timers relive days now gone and replaced by family and the seriousness of paying a mortgage. We suspend ourselves from our everyday once a week in a small indoor facility in the Ironbound, and I don’t mind getting duped into that at all.