Herald Journal Columns
May 15, 2006, Herald Journal

Spinning a good baseball yarn

By Aaron Schultz

It has been awhile since I have talked to you all. As many of you might know, it is a very busy time of the year, especially for me.

Baseball has been going very well this year for me and my Lester Prairie Bulldogs’ baseball team.

But this column is not going to be about that, well not really – it is just the backdrop.

This past Thursday, we were scheduled to play Trinity at River Ridge in Lester Prairie at 4:30 p.m.

While the Trinity head coach was there, right on time, his players didn’t quit make it as early as many of us would have liked.

In fact, as 4:30 p.m. came and went, there were no players from Trinity in sight.

Just the coach with all of the equipment, sitting on a bucket of baseballs, and looking towards the parking lot. No doubt hoping his team was going to make it there.

As we stood around waiting for them to show up, most of the team played game after game of two-ball.

For those of you not familiar with two-ball, it goes something like this.

A group of players stand in a circle facing each other. Then a guy throws up two baseballs to one of his teammates.

If the throw is within reach for the player, he has to catch both balls.

Now, if the throw isn’t good, or the players can’t catch both balls, then he gets a strike against him.

Anyways, the team was busy with that as the two umpires walked up.

Umpiring our game were Kevin Selchow and Dennis Roisum.

Roisum, who is a member of the amateur baseball hall of fame, has umped for a lot of years, and previously was the head high school baseball coach at Glencoe.

Back in my days of high school baseball at Lester Prairie, we played against Glencoe and Roisum.

Anywho, as we sat around waiting for the Trinity team to show up, we started talking baseball – as is usually the case when you talk to Roisum.

He goes on to tell me that Glencoe-Silver Lake used the same play that beat us, to beat Rockford.

For those of you who might not have heard, in our second game of the season, we fell to the Panthers 3-2 when head coach Dean Schwirtz pulled off a trick play.

Glencoe-Silver Lake had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh of a tie game.

Schwirtz had the runner on second pretend he forgot there was a runner on third, and steal third.

Well, in all of the confusion, we threw the ball around, and the Panthers scored the winning run.

My assistant coach Mike Kegler asked Roisum if that was one of his plays. He kind of chuckled and said no, but that he did have a few tricks up his sleeve when he coached.

One he told us about, that worked, was pretty cool, and something that I had never heard of before.

When an opposing team’s player attempted to steal second, Roisum had a player in the dugout hit two bats together to duplicate the sound of a batted ball.

Then, the catcher would throw up a high pop-up to the shortstop.

The potential base stealer then thought that the batter had popped up the pitch, so he busted his butt to get back to first, but was tagged out.

I just thought that was one of the coolest baseball plays I had ever heard.

Roisum continued with a story about Dick Traen, and a pick-off play he used to use in Delano way back.

At Delano, apparently, they had some kind of screen behind first base.

So, what Traen would do was to have his pitcher, on a pick-off attempt, throw it way past the first baseman, and against the screen.

The runner then would head to second, as the ball bounced back to the first basemen, who threw it to second to get the runner.

The final kind of trick play that Roisum told us was one that I had actually seen before. Still, I can’t remember when.

The play is a pick off at second, but the pitcher doesn’t throw the ball.

After faking the throw, the second baseman and shortstop kick up a bunch of dirt, pretending the ball went into centerfield.

At the same time, the pitcher points towards centerfield.

The runner, thinking that the ball is in the outfield, busts towards third, only to be thrown out by the pitcher, who still had the baseball.

As I continued to get into all of this baseball talk, the Trinity team showed up.

Although, the way the game went, the Trinity team never really showed up, after all.

We defeated Trinity 28-2, finishing the Minnesota Christian Athletic Alliance conference regular season with a perfect 10-0 record.

Yep, not much better than talking a little baseball, and spinning a yarn now and then.

NASCAR is all good

I just wanted to drop a note, here at the end of my column, letting everyone know that I am not doing all that good in my NASCAR league.

When I first started in the league I knew nothing about the sport, and only who a handful of the drivers were.

Now, I watch it regulary, but still miss my pick every week (too busy).

Yep, I have gone from someone who knew nothing about the sport, to a guy who can rattle off obscure drivers right and left.

Oh what the heck, I needed yet another sport to grab my attention.