I had two baseball dreams last night, and they both sucked.
In the first dream, a woman was interviewing me on the phone for some newspaper or magazine in Atlanta, and the interview was about video games. She knew I had a few records and asked me what kind of games I like. I told her about Arkanoid and Tetris. Then she asked me if I like “castle games,” and I said, “You mean, like, Legend of Zelda?” She said yeah, and I said that was one of my favorite games of all time. “But that’s as far as it went for me with Zelda,” I said. “I never got into the Adventures of Link or any of that Nintendo 64 crap. It’s all about the original 8-bit Nintendo.” The woman then told me that there was a group of female video game players in Atlanta who wanted to compete with me in a certain baseball video game. I told her I wasn’t interested, and when she asked why, I gave her a whole rant about why I never liked baseball video games. It went something like this: “I used to play baseball my whole life, right up into college. Swinging a real-life bat at a real-life ball traveling 90 miles per hour and hitting it 400 feet takes incredible focus, strength, and hand-eye coordination. Baseball video games take all that skill and condense it into the simple act of pressing a single button on a hand-held controller. It completely cheapens the experience of playing the sport, and I want no part of it.”
In the second dream, I was playing 3rd base for my college team, and everything kept going wrong. First of all, I was wearing sneakers instead of spikes, and I’d also forgotten to put on my belt. Before one of my at-bats, I tried to grab the belt out of my bag but didn’t have time to put it on and had to run up to the plate without it. Then I worked a pretty tough pitcher for a walk and no one on my team seemed to care. Before my second time up, I couldn’t find my bat, so I was scrambling around behind the backstop, checking out all the bats that were lying around. Eventually the umpire yelled, “I need a hitter in the box RIGHT NOW,” and my coach sent up another player to bat for me. At the very last second, I grabbed a bat that was way too heavy and raced up to the plate before my teammate had a chance to take my place. There was a new pitcher, and he was throwing BP fastballs and curveballs that didn’t break. I just wanted him to throw a strike so I could crush the ball, but before I knew it, the count was 3-0. I wanted to swing on 3-0 because I knew he was going to groove one, but the bases were empty, and I knew my coach would have a fit, so I took the pitch right down the middle to move the count to 3-1. The pitcher tried to snap off another curve, and it started flying right at my head. I ducked under it but didn’t get my bat out of the way, so the ball ended up hitting the barrel of the bat, which was behind me and over my head, still propped up on my shoulder, and the ball dribbled weakly to the pitcher who threw me out at first base before I’d even gotten out of the batters box. Everyone on my team, including the coach, was annoyed and critical. I told them it was a once-in-a-lifetime fluke, but they didn’t care. During the next half inning, I somehow forgot to take the field, and the game went on with our shortstop trying to cover the entire left side of the infield by himself. My coach didn’t seem to notice that I wasn’t out there, so I waited for him to look the other way, and then I raced out to my position. A couple minutes later, a right-handed batter on the other team ripped a one-hopper to my right, just inside the foul line. I took one step and dove and knocked it down. The ball began to trickle away from me, so I scampered after it and made an awkward, off-balance throw to first base from my knees. I didn’t get any velocity on the throw, and the ball bounced once on the infield grass and took a nice hop, and the first baseman stretched way out and caught it to beat the runner by half a step. The first base ump pumped his fist to signal “OUT!!!” and yet for some reason he yelled “SAFE!!!” He gave two different calls at the same time and confused everyone. Both coaches ran out to argue. The runner was clearly out, but the call stood as “safe,” and my coach scolded me for not making a stronger throw, and then he took me out of the game. I walked back to my team’s dugout, totally bummed out, and when I looked up, it turned out that I was in the other team’s dugout, and they were all looking at me like I was an alien. I decided to hang out with the pitchers for the rest of the game, on their bench down the left field foul line. At one point, one of the batters pulled a foul grounder in my direction, so I jumped off the bench and took a few steps toward the field and scooped it up. I got yelled at for interfering with the ball, even though it WAS a foul ball. My coach told me I should just stay seated and let the left fielder retrieve any balls that come his way. Later in the game, when I would’ve been on deck with two outs and runners on the corners, the batter drew a walk to keep the inning going. “Oh my GOD,” I said loudly, “I would’ve been up with the f*cking bases loaded.” It turned out my coach was standing right in front of me, and I hadn’t noticed. He whipped around and chewed me out for using bad language and for complaining about not being in the game. When the game ended, instead of shaking hands with the other team, we all bowed to each other since they were Japanese. I was late running in from the outfield bench, so the entire Japanese team made a separate bow just for me, which was thoroughly humiliating. At least I didn’t get injured, although I’m now mentally scarred.