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Brian Sullivan Brian Sullivan
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My fantasy weekend

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Before you get worried by this title, I assure you it has nothing to do with myself, a desert island and Scarlet Johansson. Have you seen those pictures of her that recently showed up on the Internet? Holy Toledo!

No, this fantasy weekend was all about baseball. I attended the Maine Baseball Fantasy Camp from Friday to Sunday and as I sit here watching football man am I sore.

If you aren't familiar with a Fantasy Camp, here's the deal: Grown men come together, get out the old glove and cleats, throw on a uniform and play some ball. In my case, I hadn't worn my baseball cleats in nine years! They took some breaking in.

These camps are popular with the Major League franchises; the Red Sox hold one each winter down in Fort Myers. Maine Baseball Head Coach Steve Trimper figured he would get in on the fun and started holding a camp of his own last year. He must have thought the level of play was too high the first time out because he invited my co-worker, Tony Consiglio, and me to play. Looking back, there were some highs and some lows but it was a blast.

Trimper brought in John Warden as the 'Camp Commissioner.' Warden was a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers and won a World Series while there. He runs the Kangaroo Court for the camp, fining players for poor play and mistakes that are made - many fines are handed down, as you could imagine. He comes to these camps professionally now, and really adds a lot to the experience. Essentially he just busts everybody's chops and does it well.

There is a wide range of things that happen on the field and most of them are not how baseball purists had envisioned. Ground balls are rarely run out; in fact, the one guy on my team that did hustle down the line was mocked. Fly balls are always an adventure and routine plays are anything but. But, it's all in good fun.

Going in I didn't know what to expect from myself. I was a decent baseball player in my day, but my day was almost a decade ago. Looking back, I learned a lot - mostly that I am getting old.

When it all began on Friday, we had batting practice and I put on a laser show for all in attendance; I won't lie, I felt pretty darn good about myself. On Saturday, my team played our first game. We had to be there at 7 a.m., which is early for this Sports Guy's taste. I was ready nonetheless, and I was good all day with solid O and D.  Then Sunday came and it all came crashing down. First off, I was enticed to join some fellow campers Saturday in a night of revelry and didn't get nearly the amount of sleep required to be at my best.

Big mistake.

What ensued was that all the good will and respect I had built up all went away. I decided to play third base, which I thought it would be fun. Wrong. Old Town Baseball Coach Dave Utterback, who was also at the camp, hit a ball as hard as physics would allow directly at me. I sadly booted it booted it is being nice. The ball hit my knee cap and ricocheted so high and so far in the opposite direction that it didn't seem possible, but it was. The entire camp found this to be perhaps the funniest thing ever seen. Women and children there to watch laughed as well. I had bottomed out.

My team went on to allow five runs in the inning and lost the game, as was the case for the majority of the weekend. But you know what? I don't care. It was a great weekend. It was a blast from the past to be on the diamond again. And I for one can't wait to be back again next year.

I need to get my revenge on Utterback.

Last modified on Monday, 21 November 2011 13:40


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