Baseball,  Frolic and Detour: Sports,  Wanderlust: Travel Tales

Itchy Packages and Other Ballpark Tales

Genital matters have come to the forefront in the barracks at Cooperstown. The coaches realized that they had more than baseball to deal with yesterday when several players complained that they were itchy underneath their baseball pants. It’s no wonder; they wear sliding shorts and play in the hot sun, then head to the barracks and trade pins and eat lunch before they shower.

They’re required to wear their bathing suits in community showers, and apparently the lack of privacy and nudity has hampered their bathing efforts. The buildup of dust and sweat in such a tender area has resulted in a condition that Bill bluntly calls “crotch rot.” Regardless of its true name, once a couple of players contracted it, the disease became a badge of honor. It’s become widespread, so although some of our guys are walking a bit gingerly, they’re holding their heads high. We’re hopeful that the tutorial on scrotal cleansing and the ointment our team doctor has administered will lick the problem.

Tuesday morning we played the North Carolina Riptide. Before the game we were warned that the Riptide had a “troublesome parent” among their fans, who would be escorted away by security if he had another outburst. This was heartening, as we had missed the holiday fireworks due to baseball, and we felt we deserved some. We spent the game leaving men on base at the end of each inning and scanning the opposing team’s fans for the offender. Could it be the man in the red polo? The one in the orange and white T-shirt? Sadly, we lost the game, the fan behaved himself and we left the game feeling we’d lost twice.

Losing doesn’t affect the spirit of our cheering section, which appears to be one of the strongest at the park. We haven’t seen another team sing the ESPN theme in harmony, act out a riptide, namecheck the players in order, or yell, “Let’s get up in their kitchen, Blaze!” or “Tag the bag!” with such fervor. We’ve recently added “Shake and Bake!” to the repertoire, which hasn’t helped the team but cracks up the stands.

Tuesday afternoon we were surprised when West Pines Florida’s high school football team showed up in baseball uniforms ready to play. The Guinness Book of World Records needs to head down there when updating its entry for “World’s Largest 12-year-old,” as the team had fourteen contenders. Finn pitched and I tried yelling, “Give ‘em your easy greasy, baby!” but he shook me off, and I reverted to more traditional forms of encouragement.

If you’re organizing a baseball team, it helps to have a parent who owns two gourmet restaurants with you. After three days of pizza and chicken fingers, parents and players were getting grumpy. We gathered at a house and worshipped at the chef’s altar as he directed the preparation of grilled chicken and flank steak, guacamole, Greek salad, and four cheese macaroni. Our able bartender Ephraim (his choice of pseudonym) continued his winning streak, serving beer, wine, and exotic mixed drinks.

Although we thought this was going to be a family vacation, I haven’t spent much time with Bill at all, as he’s staying in the barracks with the team. We’ve resorted to kissing through the fence at the start of each game. The cookout gave us time to sit down together and talk. That’s when I learned about the itch. I also found that this is many of the boys’ first experience dressing and undressing in front of others. Bill said he stripped down the other night while our pitcher looked on and said, “That just don’t bother you none at all, does it? “

I also discovered that the Cooperstown laundry service, while highly praised, hasn’t been so dependable for our team. The Blaze has sent off the correct number of uniforms but received only partials back, and Bill’s underwear is AWOL in the Park, rather than on his derriere.

We appreciate all your well wishes. Our team isn’t nearly the best here, but we’re set on having the best time of any group, and so far we’re succeeding.


  • Kathy

    We just had our Oak Mtn team meeting last night about starting to plan for Cooperstown for this time next year. Half the team seems for it, half thinks we need to spend less and go someplace else to play. I’m sending them all to your blog, so keep the stories comin’. Heard all the nightmare stories about teams flying a pitcher in from California to win, etc.

    Have fun and hope the boys continue to do well!!

  • baseballmom

    What an amazing experience for your boys…win or lose. I think it’s so awesome that you guys are doing that, and I wish we could muster up the funds to do it too. I HATE when teams have giant twelve year olds…it just ruins my day. As Husband says to our boys after a tournament-they learn so much about baseball just playing against these higher level teams, it’s an honor to even be there. Good luck, and I’m really enjoying your updates!

    baseballmom’s last blog post..Oh my…

  • Sandra

    We are familiar with crotch rot – try a team of 9 year olds, playing basketball and swimming non stop, with no thought to “drying out” in between.
    ANd I’m glad your team and fans are having fun – when it’s all said and done, winning is nice, but enjoying what you’re doing is better.

    Sandra’s last blog yarn

  • jen

    LOL! Reminds me of marching band…well, Drum Corps. Marchers, especially of the male variety, had this problem. 😉

  • Kelly

    Isn’t it amazing how many thousands of people there are in this country who do this travel ball thing? I’m from a REAL small town and people here don’t understand, but when you go to one of those big tournaments and play against kids from the other end of the country it makes you realize why every major league team has 6 minor league teams. Its a big machine. You should see the numbers in the Girls Basketball AAU tournaments!

  • Anna See

    When I was a kid at the beach we called it “Crotch Rotch!” It was a badge of glory. We girls looked up to our older brothers and wanted to have crotch rotch, too. Little did we know we’d have more than our share of exciting issues “down there” as we got older.

    Anna See’s last blog post..It’s All in My Head

  • Jess

    It sounds like you are having a great time except for the itchy itchy scratchy scratchy. Crotch Rot and baseball seem to go hand and ……

    Good luck!!

  • jean

    Crotch rot. God I haven’t heard that one in a while. My son (12) who thinks nothing of walking around me completely naked, would die a thousand deaths before dropping his pants in front of anyone else. Let’s hope he keeps that attitude going for a few more years.