Al Batt: They call that great player there Scooter

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tales from Exit 22, By Al Batt

The wheel of my grocery cart was making an unpleasant sound as I rolled it through the supermarket.

When I’d finished shopping, I offered it to another shopper, saying, “It makes a terrible noise, but it works.”

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Back home, I listened to my beloved St. Louis Cardinals being massacred in a baseball game. I made a terrible noise, but it didn’t help.

A guy named Scooter hit four home runs for their opponents, the Cincinnati Reds. Scooter is no power hitter. His name is Scooter, not Hammering Hank, the Sultan of Swat, Joltin’ Joe or Big Poison. He became the 17th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in one game and the seventh to hit four consecutive round trippers in a game. He joined a list of sluggers that have accomplished this amazing feat. That includes Rocky Colavito, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt.

Scooter is a great player. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t be playing in the major leagues. He was good enough to hit four home runs in one game, but he isn’t good enough to hit one in many games. Scooter has hit 42 home runs in five years in the major leagues.

His first three at bats in the next game, Scooter hit into a double play, struck out and then hit into another double play.

The famous Peter Principle states that people have the potential to rise to their levels of incompetence. It gives us something to aspire to.

Some of us peaked early in life. We became hall monitors and school crossing guards (complete with badges) in grade school. I had a card certifying that I was an official school crossing guard and should be treated with due respect. I’ll bet Barney Fife never had one of those. I kept one eye open to make sure the other eye was closed. I didn’t have the gravitas required to be a milk monitor on beanie weenie day in the school cafeteria, but I was third on the list of alternates.

A doctor told me that she was from Ireland and had worked in this country for nearly a year. I hoped that she was a lifetime away from finding her level of incompetence. She was preparing to return to her homeland. I asked her what she missed most about Ireland. It was the food. I understood. When I left my ancestral home for the first time, my mother’s home cooking was dearly missed.

My neighbor Crandall said that when he went off to college, he had one pair of shoes. That was fine, as he had only one pair of feet. He did take as much of his mother’s cooking with him as possible. He filled Tupperware and Cool Whip containers with various hot dishes. When he returned home the first time (because he’d polished off that food), he claimed that his parents had moved and left no forwarding address.

Crandall told me that when he was a boy, his father had bought an old, refurbished convertible. With the right tools, any car can become a convertible. Crandall and his brother Cranston asked who would inherit that snazzy car one day. Their father told them that if he passed away on an even day, Crandall would get it. If it happened on an odd day, it’d be Cranston’s. Their father had promised a fishing trip for just the three of them. He tried to postpone it because he was too busy and the fish would wait. Their mother said that the fish might wait, but their boyhoods wouldn’t. The convertible was driven to the lake. While the three of them were fishing, the non-swimming father fell out of the boat. Crandall yelled at his father while rescuing him from the water, “It’s the wrong day!”

That’s my sneaky way of wishing a happy Father’s Day to my late father. Even or odd, it was the wrong day when he died.

Life is a series of crooked photographs. Everybody looks out his own window. One day in May, we received 18 inches of snow. I found myself barefooted, wearing shorts and T-shirt while shoveling snow. I became envious of the residents of Hawaii. Envy is a poor yardstick.

C.S. Lewis said that all things are possible and that it’s even possible for a camel to get through the eye of a needle, but it’d be hard on the camel.

Even so, it’d be foolish for anyone who isn’t a camel not to believe in impossible things.

Scooter believes.

Al Batt’s columns appear every Wednesday and Sunday.