Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Can There Be Too Much Baseball?

Posted by todblog on September 29, 2008

September 27, 2008

Since February, Jacob has been playing baseball on a regular basis. It started with the Umpqua Valley Christian Schools varsity high school season then ran into Junior State summer ball playing in June and continues into the current Northwest Baseball (fall ball) season that goes through the end of October. That’s almost nine months of baseball. Whew! The experience has been great for Jacob to get more playing time and build more confidence on the field and in the batter’s box.

We still have batting practice in the backyard batting cage and also hit soft toss into a small net in the garage. There are always a lot of balls around thanks to an annual tradition that finds us picking up lost balls found in weeds and blackberry patches adjacent to baseball fields. It’s like an Easter egg hunt for $4 “eggs”. Problem is, when you have so many baseballs it’s hard to keep track of just how many you got or should have. So, when a handful are missing, you don’t realize it until much later.

Each September the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife hosts a number of free hunting events for youths 17 and under. For the past several years we’ve been going to the Denman Wildlife Area in Central Point where they do a wonderful job of hosting youth hunters to a hot breakfast followed by a pheasant hunt, shotgun shooting skills clinic, and hotdogs. It’s one of the few times we give Mele, our German short-haired pointer, a good workout hunting pheasants. She has a great time coursing through the grasses and shrubs looking for ring-necked pheasants.

About two weeks prior to our pheasant hunt, Mele got real depressed. The tail wagging slowed down and she wouldn’t eat, not even her favorite dog bones. Three days of this behavior prompted us to take her to the local veterinarian for an exam. Something definitely wasn’t right. The vet discovered that there was some blockage in her intestines and that surgery was necessary to extract whatever was in there.

I looked around the house and in Mele’s kennel and found a number of baseballs minus their leather covers and a couple of fingerless batting gloves….. Could they be in her gut? The doctor confirmed my suspicion and removed folds of white leather with obvious seams and stitching marks along the edges. Some of the other material looked like bits of batting glove. Her demeanor improved immensely as she recovered from surgery over the next few days. We were happy to have our family member back with the tail wagging in overdrive. The only bummer was not being able to take her on the youth pheasant hunt as she would still be recovering with staples still in place.

Quickly, we had to come up with a Plan B. After hunting behind a good bird dog for many years, there’s just no going back to beating the bushes as you walk through an area hoping to flush a bird. Was there someone else who had a bird dog looking for some company? As it turns out Dean Perske an Oregon State Police Game Sergeant was looking to get some experience for his young German wire-haired pointer. It would be Kirby’s first pheasant hunt and Dean was looking to get him tuned-up for the upcoming bird season.

We had a great time at Denman and managed to get our limit of two birds in a couple of hours. There were lots of smiling youth hunters and happy dogs with long tongues. When we got back home, Mele greeted us with her inquisitive nose and wagging tail. She sniffed our boots, pants, and finally the bag of birds and she knew we went hunting without her.

Dean and Kirby pose with Jacob and his two pheasant limit.

I feel terrible about her injury and that it was totally avoidable if we just kept those “chew toys” out of her reach. She is a very smart dog. She knows when to pull a disappearing act when we least expect it, when to sneak something off someone’s plate, when to creep into someone’s room and I’m pretty sure she recognizes certain printed labels. However, this time she made a big error…what she thought read “Rawhide” on the baseball was really marked as “Rawlings”.

In time, her recovery will be complete and she’ll be raring to go find birds with us again…probably after fall baseball season. Until then, I think we’re gonna switch over to Wilson baseballs.

Regular baseball, coverless ball, fingerless batting glove

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8 Responses to “Can There Be Too Much Baseball?”

  1. ralph saitos said

    Poor Mele, don’t you feed her enough that she has to forage for her own “food”?
    Anyway glad she is on her recovery mode. Enjoy your baseball Jacob..it is a thinking man’s game, lots of quick thinking going on in baseball. Glad you like it. Take care….the Saitos.

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  2. Uncle Howard said

    Todd: We – Aunty Jean, Randy and me with a few thousand from home – were in Portland, 09/11 to 09.14 to see the Univ of Hawaii get their butts kick in by Oregon State who the following week upset #1 USC. We all bussed over in the morning, had a tail gate sponsored by the UH. Great new stadium… but it was really hot in the sun. That night had a wonderful dinner at the Pazzo Restorante – 627 SW Washington. Their fresh berry galato was outstanding

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  3. Lisa Fujioka said

    Aww geez, now that’s taking “loves baseball” (much like our sons) to a whole new level. So glad she’s OK.

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  4. Tamara said

    Poor Mele, glad to hear she’s doing better:) What a great story once again, thanks for sharing. You’re hilarious.:) Give Mele hugs for the Peytons

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  5. Anonymous said

    I would be worried if Jacob had the blockage!

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  6. Brent said

    yes glad Mele the rally dog is doing well. Wonder if that is what was wrong with the Mariners this year!

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  7. bob said

    Being able to communicate with the non english speaking members of the family is very important. Being able to figure out what they were up to just means you really love them. I’m glad that you were able to have Mele taken care of. I know that she is very happy about the discomfort being gone, but not so happy about missing out on the hunt. And what is so wrong about beating the bush without dogs to hunt pheasants?
    Aloha, Bob

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  8. todblog said

    Yep, beating the bushes reminds me of college days hunting pheasants at Finley Refuge. Line up and start kicking bushes and grass, zig zag… lotta work and then heart attack when the bugga flushes and miss! Nothing like a good pointer. Drink coffee in the car, wait ’til the dog locks up on the birds, put the coffee down, stretch, pick up the shotgun and mosey over to the dog for the flush. End up missing just the same!

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