I think they worry that I passed up on a glamorous career of leading the Yankees to numerous World Series titles, so that I could lead them to a life of laughter, Deep Thoughts, and better appreciation for the Magic of Maine.
Since it is Throw Back Thursday, I thought I’d time travel back to the Brooklyn of my youth, and share some old photos of the Modern Philosopher as a baseball legend.
This first one is of me, smiling brightly for the press that was constantly following the handsome phenom all around Brooklyn to chart his progress to the Big Leagues.
As you can see, I’m playing wiffle ball. The game was a great way to improve my hitting skills, while also cutting down on the amount of windows I broke in the neighborhood. Baseballs do a lot of damage, and when you had a swing as powerful as mine, glass was breaking all over Bay Ridge whenever Mighty Austin was at the bat.
Who didn’t love wiffe ball? It was the perfect game for a city kid who didn’t have time to traipse all over Brooklyn in search of a baseball diamond because his Evil Step Mother didn’t like him going off the block…especially not on a school night.
I was on the Angels (how appropriate) my first three years, and we made it to the World Series twice, losing both times.
Look at that game face! It was made for a baseball card. Check out the determination. I was clearly used to the cameras following me around, and I just wanted to get out onto the diamond to play the game I loved so much.
It was with the Angels that I discovered my love of playing third base. The regular third baseman had to miss the last game of my first season, and Mr. Ryan gave me a shot at the hot corner. It was awesome! I knew that excelling as a slick fielding third baseman with a rocket arm was going to be my ticket to the Major Leagues.
Defense was going to have to be my focus because I was a horrible hitter. I probably got hit by more pitches than I actually hit. It wasn’t like I didn’t try. I wanted to swing a big bat and anchor the middle of the lineup, but this Modern Philosopher in Training just did not have the hand/eye coordination it took to be a hitting machine.
I could hit a wiffle ball a mile (well, at least onto the rooftops across the street!), but a baseball was a whole new challenge.
At least St. Ephrem’s got better uniforms by the time I moved up to that age bracket. Look at how I filled out that uni with my massive chest and arms!
The Sparrows made it to one Championship Game, and I’ll never forget the score. We lost 23-5 to the Jaguars, and it was 10-0 after the first inning. Sigh.
It was obvious that the only way I was ever going to win a championship was by playing for the Yankees.
So what happened to deter me from that path to glory? To be continued…