World Renowned

I was visiting family in St Petersburg Florida recently and as I was finishing a morning run noticed several older guys hanging out by a baseball field. I was curious as to what they were gathering there for. I noticed more guys all getting out of nearby cars and some of them were carrying baseball gloves. I was now very curious as all of these guys looked to be in the over 60 age range.

I glanced over to see 10 guys already on the field taking batting practice. I walked over and sat down on a wooden bench behind the fence. As they walked by they all said good morning and I asked one gentleman if they were a team and if they would be playing a game today? Maynard sat down and explained to me that they were a team but today they would only be playing some pickup games as many of the members were not around in the summer months. They are a 75 years old and over team. He then asked where I was from and introduced me to several other players who were from Cincinnati.

He gave me a brochure about the team that included a brief history of each player. I learned that this team consisted of engineers, a former CIA employee, an ardent conservationist, a professional gambler, a professional golf caddy, a school principal, and a sports memorabilia collector. I also met Ron who was here for only his second time and Maynard asked him if he had purchased a glove yet. Ron stated that he had not because he wanted to be sure he could actually play first.  Maynard told him he could certainly play and that he was sure they had an extra glove he could use. Ron told me he had not swung a baseball bat in 60 years but his face was lit up when he described how that felt now. 
Ron had stopped by earlier in the week and everyone here was so friendly and invited him back. He struggled to get a hit during batting practice but then the pitcher asked him if he had bifocal glasses. Ron in fact did and the pitcher told him, “Take them off and try.”

Ron started getting hits then and was thrilled. I met several members of the team and felt so welcome watching these talented men play softball. There was also a scorekeeper, several fans, an announcer and a couple players who were injured but came by to hang out. There seemed to be a role for everyone. I noticed on the brochure that they were “ The World Renowned Kids and Kubs.” They were definitely world renowned for many things including tremendous radical hospitality.

How many normal seventy-five-year-old people would drive 20 or 30 miles three times a week to stay around a ball field?  Many would not schedule a doctor’s appointment, operation or any other affair that would interfere with our ball playing.  Some people say we are not allowed to die if we are scheduled to play                 ————  Winchell Smith

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