Working baseball spring training is a lot of work and a lot of long hours. But every now and then, you find some time to get out and have some fun. I had the chance to join a group of Major League Front Office members for a few games of bowling at the local Sarasota lanes.
To be quite honest, I have never been a great bowler. Not even on the WII video game system do I stand out as a top bowler among my peers. When I was in my early teens, I was with my friends Mark and Lenny, and we were once beaten by a seven year old bowling, while playing with bumpers! But something this night just felt right, and I knew I was in for a special game. During game three of the four game set I started off with a strike, and the magical game was on. After missing the spare in the second frame, I came back to pick up an easy spare on frame three. Then, from frames four through eight, I hit five straight strikes. I was in a grove, feeling it and not wanting to stop.
During the streak of strikes I felt like a pitcher in the middle of a no hitter, as I knew everyone was staring, but no one wanted to say much. In the back of my mind, all I could think of was to finish strong and collect my first ever 200 game. In all came to a crashing halt as I picked up seven pins on a split on frame nine. I went for something crazy, and got nothing on the next roll. Frame ten was just as bad as I picked up another seven split. I did the math and knew that I had to spare the final frame for a 200 game, so I went for it all, and failed.
I received a bunch of high fives for my 196 game, and for some reason, instead of being thrilled, I was mad at myself for not getting the 200, even though this was by far my best game ever. As I was taught years ago by Coach Huggins, I am “never satisfied.”
In the end, I was very pleased with my four games overall, averaging over 141 pins. My team won the overall pin count 1,779 to 1,456 in a four game sweep. I can already tell that I will be a little sore in the next few days.
Hey Mr. Garfield, you ready for a game??
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by Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds Manager