Summer is upon us and with it comes America’s favorite pastime: baseball. As faithful Stiletto Gang readers know, I’m a masochist and root for the New York Mets, a team who manages to lose with alarming regularity despite boasting some of the best fielders and hitters in the game. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance of Major League Baseball knows that the Mets are underachievers, something that really hits close to home when you have the-team-who-shall-not-be-named across town in the Bronx. I continue to hope, though, that we get our act together and see some progress.
Our pitching has been sketchy at best. We have a formidable bullpen—Oliver Perez aside—members of which are called in to save the day once the pitcher on record, he who started the game, begins to wear down. Or reaches baseball’s new determinant of a pitcher’s lifespan on the mound: the pitch count.
It has gotten so ubiquitous in baseball that some broadcasts put a pitch count clock at the bottom of the screen so that when a pitcher hits one hundred pitches, the talking heads can start talking about how many pitches the guy has thrown and when the manager should take him out. As the pitch count rises, sometimes upwards of a hundred and twenty pitches, the guys on the telecast start talking about the pitcher like he is doing the impossible—pitching after he has reached his pitch count. It almost becomes like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” meets “The Natural,” where it sounds like he is either going to be taken out and put out of his misery or nominated to the Hall of Fame on that particular day. They say, their voices filled with wonder, “He has exceeded his pitch count, yet he continues to pitch.”
I think we should institute the pitch count on the things we do on a daily basis, or even those that we don’t. So, for instance, when a woman has entered her thirty-sixth hour of labor, she should be able to turn to her doctor and say, “I’ve reached my pitch count. Get this sucker out!”
Actually, that’s a paraphrase of what just about every birthing mother says in the delivery room, but with far more colorful language incorporated.
Wouldn’t you love to have a pitch count for everyday life? When my husband grades his thousandth test for the year, I think he should be able to invoke the pitch count and put his red pen aside. He should be able to coast for the rest of the year, don’t you think? Or sit in a dugout and chew gum while watching a professional baseball game?
I’m going to invoke the pitch count when someone asks me, “What’s for dinner?” I’ve cooked almost every single night for the past sixteen years and tonight, we’re going out. I’ve reached my pitch count.
I’m definitely going to invoke the pitch count when it comes to simple household tasks that I loathe, particularly the emptying of the dishwasher. (Northern Half of Evelyn David? I’m with you, girl.) I have unloaded my last load of clean dishes. Why? I’ve reached my pitch count.
I will never invoke the pitch count on things that matter, like cleaning the toilets. No pitch count there.
And I will never invoke the pitch count when it comes to hugging my kids, although they may wish that I did. Particularly when I do it outside of their school or after one of their games in full view of their homies or peeps. I’m sure they wish I would also invoke the pitch count when it comes to using terms like “homies” or “peeps” or my all-time favorite, “shawty.”
Nor will I invoke the pitch count when it comes to bathing the dog. (I’m the only one she lets near her with a bottle of shampoo and a hose.) Or saying “I love you” to people that matter.
But I will invoke the pitch count when it comes to hunting down the last elusive box of chocolate-chip waffles—the only ones my son will eat—a task I repeat at least four times a week. Sorry, kid, I’ve reached my pitch count.
Weigh in, Stiletto faithful. On what have you reached your pitch count?