The Benchwarmer: Playing Time

Photo is courtesy of Matt Shock Written by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)

Edited by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

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Disclaimer – The events contained in the following posts may or may not have actually happened. The names of individuals and institutions may or may not have been changed to protect the identities of those involved. What I mean by this is that every word is true, and that the people and institutions in question are absolutely real. I’m not protecting anybody.


Ladies and gentlemen,

My first bit of playing time came during our second road trip of the season (well, it would’ve been something like our 5th road trip, but the three straight trips after the Danville, VA trip were snowed out). Anyhow, I didn’t quite see this one coming.

We were playing the first game of a double-header and Mike Schwechheimer, the best player on our team, pulled his hamstring while running to first base. Now aside from Mike being the best player on the team, there were other factors that contributed to me thinking that my butt would remain firmly planted on the pine. For starters, he was the starting center fielder, a position that requires both speed and agility…two qualities that my game was sorely lacking at the time. Secondly, he was the best hitter on the team…and if I’m being honest…I can hit nothing but “fast”balls.

Anyhow, you can imagine my surprise when I heard Coach Hack yell out, “Matt Shock, grab a helmet!”

About a million things ran through my head, the first of them being, “Is coach freakin’ crazy?” But, not wanting to give him the chance to change his mind, I grabbed the nearest batting helmet and jogged out to first base, making sure to perform the obligatory stretches like I saw the big leaguers do on TV as a kid.

Now it had been a long time since I had worn a batting helmet (I hadn’t played any real baseball since my first year of Babe Ruth) so I forgot how noisy those things are in the wind. The more the wind howled through the ear-holes of the batting helmet, the more I could’ve sworn that the wind was screaming, “Don’t #%&# this up,” at the top of its lungs. At any rate, I took as brave of a lead as I dared to take (which was about three feet at the most) and tried desperately to remember what the signs stood for that coach was sending my way.

Miraculously, I eventually advanced to second, and then scored from second on a double or something like that…all without spiking myself…so all in all my first bit of playing time was going well. I ended up playing right field for the rest of the game, and I even managed not to do anything stupid and get benched. I was getting ready to come in and take my first at bat as a college baseball player when the unthinkable happened…

The other team forfeited the game!

Yes, I became a regular Moonlight Graham for the rest of the trip, playing a few innings on defense, even scoring a run, but I didn’t get a single at bat for the whole trip. That has to be some kind of defining moment right there, but I’m pretty sure that the definition isn’t a good one.

Such was my first bit of playing time as a college baseball player.



The Benchwarmer


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