The ReInvention of the Curveball

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks

well, this old dog has learned a new trick

the curveball

I’ve always known how to throw a curveball in theory

I could have written you a hypothesis on the mechanics of a curveball

and how it can dart

away from you

play with gravity

still, at the height of my pitching powers

I could never throw a decent curveball

what I could show you on paper

proved impossible in air

I had a dependable fastball and a mean sinker

but, I so rarely pitched my curve in a pinch

that was nineteen years ago

this summer every Saturday I find myself back on the mound

which at times has felt like mounting a bucking bronco

wanting to throw me off

I’ve written before how I lost control of commanding my pitches

walking every other batter

and plunking the guys I didn’t walk

it’s been ugly

I got tossed from a game for hitting too many batters

apparently hitting three batters in one third of an inning is “too much” for this wuss league

well, I’ve been practicing throwing at my red t-shirt tied to the chain link fence

I’ve dusted off my fastball

rediscovered my forkball

though, most rewarding, is finding a curveball I never knew I had

last Saturday’s game was an exhibition open to anyone in the league

mixing teams, so there I am squaring off against my coach, Manny,

who steps up to the plate with the bases loaded in a tie game

Manny has only seen me wildly throwing pitches all around the plate

so, Manny has only used me only sparingly this year

now, here we are in a tie game bases loaded high noon show down

and Manny doesn’t know I’ve found my game

and reinvented my curveball

and with the count at 3 and 2

I go to a pitch I never used to trust as far as I could throw it:

the curveball

and it sails in at Manny’s shoulder

looking like it’s in danger of hitting him

bringing in the winning run

yet, it breaks away from his shoulder

falling softly through the strike zone

Manny swings late at it

strike three

you know it’s a fun game when the batter applauds the pitcher who struck him out

“Great pitch!” Manny gives me a thumbs up

I like Manny

I’d love to think by striking him out I get into more games.


3 thoughts on “The ReInvention of the Curveball

  1. Steven Myers

    a bean ball reputation maybe made your new found curveball
    a drunk taliban with an ak47 in the minds of batters
    who were forced to respect the uncertainty of your arsenal.


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