I spend Wednesday nights at Little League fields around Grafton. I would spend Saturday nights there too, but I’m unfortunately working.
Baseball is one of my son’s obsessions. He taught himself to read one summer because he wanted to read the box scores on the sports pages. We’ve gone through the comedy years of tee ball, the learning curve of coach pitch and now the often slow walk around the bases that is kid pitch.
My daughter’s favorite field is Ferry Street, which has an actual name no one uses: McNamara Field. It has nothing to do with the grounds and everything to do with this:
Snacks are always a useful bribe when you have a younger sibling who has absolutely no interest in sports. Oh, she’ll pick flowers and talk your ear off and sometimes even watch the game, but she’s unfortunately not a baseball fan.
Yes, she even owns a pink Red Sox hat. You want to make something of it?
She insisted on taking this picture because “isn’t that the guy who built our house?” Isn’t Jon LeClaire the guy who built everyone’s house?
My question about Grafton, always, ultimately has to do with the increase in homes, and yes, our builder played a huge role in that. How can a town approve so many homes with three bedrooms or more without planning for the increase in population? It’s not just a Grafton problem. It’s a statewide problem. If a town is allowed to ask for mitigation from the developer if, say, a shopping center is built — sidewalks, additional lights, street enhancements — why isn’t the same done for residential building? We at least could have used some sidewalks from all the LeClaire neighborhoods around Grafton Elementary School down to the school so we wouldn’t have to bus each and every kid.
Oh wait, I’m getting off topic. I’m supposed to be feature-y today. Little League. Right.
The players like Ferry Street because it’s a “real” baseball field. They have dugouts, lights and once in a while someone even manages to open up the intercom to announce whoever is batting. They love that.
They always manage to botch the pronunciation of our perfectly respectable Italian last name, though. It’s how we know when to hang up on telemarketers, too.
Another plus for players: batting cages. Boy, do we need that this year. I’m not sure how much is rustiness from a winter out of practice — although they’ve had a lot of practices — and how much is the weirdness of kid pitch.
Behind home plate, most of the backstop is covered by an ugly blue tarp. This isn’t because something is under repair, which I thought at first glance. No, they had to put it up to prevent parents from gathering behind the backstop to glare at the pitcher, jeer at the batter and criticize the umpire. At least, that’s what I was told last night.
I can believe it, though. I happened to be on the opposing side shooting pictures while my son was pitching, and the comments from the parents about him caused an unexpected surge of violence through my body. I was good, though. I didn’t deck anyone. I didn’t even snap a flash in their faces. I just quietly reveled in the superiority of my DNA when he struck their kids out.
That’s allowed, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure the code of conduct allows for it.
The downside to Ferry Street: the view. The teardown of this hill started, I think, our first year in town. With the current housing market, we can probably expect to see this for a few years to come.