It's the last of week of Major League Baseball's spring training. The first game of the 2013 Professional Baseball season is just days away. After the devastating collapse of my beloved Red Sox last year, I am ready to put the past behind and slide into a new season.
In order to prevent a repeat of last year's disaster, I have secretly helped train the ultimate back-up baseball player for this year's Red Sox team. Who is this phenom you ask? He is my very own feline friend, Benjamin Bunny.
After an early morning breakfast and a visit to the litter box, Benjamin Bunny begins his daily training routine. First, he practices catching infield flyballs. I toss balls into the air, and he leaps to catch them. Sometimes he snatches them from the air while running. Other times he catches them in mid-flight, jumping from one climbing tree to another. Once in awhile he grabs them from a standing position. Instead of using a glove, Bunny uses a two-paw technique which cuts down on equipment costs.
After a short break for nutritious treats, he works on short sprints and sliding. Using the red dot laser device as a guide, Bunny dashes from one side of the house to the other as fast as he can. Every few turns, he launches into a mock slide. This is designed to simulate how he would handle "a rounding first and sliding into second base" type situation. Occasionally, over sliding occurs but we are in the process of correcting that problem.
A quick catnap, followed by another nutritious snack break, and Bunny is back at it again. It's time for batting practice. Perched atop a climbing tree with a flat top, Bunny swats away my best attempts at curve balls, fast balls, sliders, and knuckle-balls. He is a switch hitter, so the Red Sox could use him against both right and left-handed pitchers. As an added benefit, the cost associated with replacing broken bats would be reduced since he doesn't need to use one.
To end his daily workout, Bunny practices chasing down high flyballs in the outfield. We use the entire downstairs living area to accommodate this part of his workout. To help out, Gracie often pretends to be a fellow outfielder so Bunny can get accustomed to functioning in a team setting.
We begin with Benjamin sitting on the floor several feet away from me. Once his attention is focused on my hands, I shoot a ponytail holder through the air towards the opposite side of the house. Bunny races to stop the ponytail holder, hurdling over or through any object in his way. If Gracie happens to be closer to the pony-tail holder's potential landing area, Bunny backs off and lets her stop it. Such team work is always rewarded with belly rubs and neck scratches.
Bunny's training day ends with a dinner of either chicken or salmon and fresh water. A nice back massage and belly rub help alleviate any soreness from the day's activities. And then, it's off to bed and dreams of chasing flyballs in Fenway Park.
Now if I can only get Major League Baseball to switch from baseballs to sparkly mylar balls, everything will be good to go.
Until next time, remember...
Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is.
- Bob Feller