My friend Malcolm is in town for a few days. He's a New Yorker, a brilliant bass player, and an all-round good guy. Last summer when I was out on tour playing accordion with Days of the New (Malcolm is the bassist), I turned to Malcolm often as a source of sanity and balance in a completely insane situation.
He was stranded in Fern Creek without a car, which, for a Brooklynite, is even worse than it sounds. I was on my way to Whole Foods when he called, so he joined me on my quest for a yummy lunch.
Next to the Whole Foods, we saw something I'd never noticed before: batting cages!!
We immediately purchased six tokens after laughing at the nominal cost -- 8 pitches for one token for 50 cents. So we bought 48 pitches.
I'm not a baseball player, but I remember the basics. Keep your eye on the ball and keep your elbow higher than you think you should. After missing 8 pitches in a row at 45 mph, -- Malcolm declared they were too high and I would have been walked were it a real game -- I switched to 40 mph. The speed for little girls. But I'm not proud, so it was fine.
I hit the first ball, and it was a good one too, directly between the pitcher's mound and 3rd base. Suddenly, my hand was throbbing in a weird pulsing pain. I screamed an expletive, and Malcolm, who had hit about 16 straight balls asked it my hand hurt. "Stupid aluminum bats," he said, "They always sting your hand when you get a hit." I hit one more ball and that time my hand reeeeeeeally hurt. I decided I was too weak to continue. Then Malcolm decided that his hands hurt a lot too, and we should probably stop if we wanted to be able to play our Friday night gigs.
We gave our last two tokens to a little boy and his grandfather, telling them we didn't want to hurt our hands anymore. The grandfather grinned and asked, "Are you musicians?" Malcolm sort of looks like a rock star, and I had on oversized sunglasses. Maybe we looked the part. Or maybe musicians are the only people wussy enough to get injured in the batting cages.
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