My Own Private Pitch Count

Summer is upon us and with it comes America’s favorite pastime: baseball. As faithful Stiletto Gang readers know, I’m a masochist and root for the New York Mets, a team who manages to lose with alarming regularity despite boasting some of the best fielders and hitters in the game. Anyone with a nodding acquaintance of Major League Baseball knows that the Mets are underachievers, something that really hits close to home when you have the-team-who-shall-not-be-named across town in the Bronx. I continue to hope, though, that we get our act together and see some progress.

Our pitching has been sketchy at best. We have a formidable bullpen—Oliver Perez aside—members of which are called in to save the day once the pitcher on record, he who started the game, begins to wear down. Or reaches baseball’s new determinant of a pitcher’s lifespan on the mound: the pitch count.

It has gotten so ubiquitous in baseball that some broadcasts put a pitch count clock at the bottom of the screen so that when a pitcher hits one hundred pitches, the talking heads can start talking about how many pitches the guy has thrown and when the manager should take him out. As the pitch count rises, sometimes upwards of a hundred and twenty pitches, the guys on the telecast start talking about the pitcher like he is doing the impossible—pitching after he has reached his pitch count. It almost becomes like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” meets “The Natural,” where it sounds like he is either going to be taken out and put out of his misery or nominated to the Hall of Fame on that particular day. They say, their voices filled with wonder, “He has exceeded his pitch count, yet he continues to pitch.”

Yes, amazing.

I think we should institute the pitch count on the things we do on a daily basis, or even those that we don’t. So, for instance, when a woman has entered her thirty-sixth hour of labor, she should be able to turn to her doctor and say, “I’ve reached my pitch count. Get this sucker out!”

Actually, that’s a paraphrase of what just about every birthing mother says in the delivery room, but with far more colorful language incorporated.

Wouldn’t you love to have a pitch count for everyday life? When my husband grades his thousandth test for the year, I think he should be able to invoke the pitch count and put his red pen aside. He should be able to coast for the rest of the year, don’t you think? Or sit in a dugout and chew gum while watching a professional baseball game?

I’m going to invoke the pitch count when someone asks me, “What’s for dinner?” I’ve cooked almost every single night for the past sixteen years and tonight, we’re going out. I’ve reached my pitch count.

I’m definitely going to invoke the pitch count when it comes to simple household tasks that I loathe, particularly the emptying of the dishwasher. (Northern Half of Evelyn David? I’m with you, girl.) I have unloaded my last load of clean dishes. Why? I’ve reached my pitch count.

I will never invoke the pitch count on things that matter, like cleaning the toilets. No pitch count there.

And I will never invoke the pitch count when it comes to hugging my kids, although they may wish that I did. Particularly when I do it outside of their school or after one of their games in full view of their homies or peeps. I’m sure they wish I would also invoke the pitch count when it comes to using terms like “homies” or “peeps” or my all-time favorite, “shawty.”

Nor will I invoke the pitch count when it comes to bathing the dog. (I’m the only one she lets near her with a bottle of shampoo and a hose.) Or saying “I love you” to people that matter.

But I will invoke the pitch count when it comes to hunting down the last elusive box of chocolate-chip waffles—the only ones my son will eat—a task I repeat at least four times a week. Sorry, kid, I’ve reached my pitch count.

Weigh in, Stiletto faithful. On what have you reached your pitch count?

Maggie Barbieri

8 replies
  1. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    Oh, I agree! No pitch count on saying "homies" or "peeps!" 😉 Or on hugs or "I love yous!" But I definitely want to invoke my pitch count when I've done 10 loads of laundry a week (why is it women are supposedly the fashionistas but men seem to create more dirty clothes?). I'd like to invoke my pitch count on cleaning the litter boxes, too, and on pulling weeds. Although I don't have a coach around to bench me when the TV announcers start making fun of how many weeds I've yanked (too bad).

  2. Barb Wallace
    Barb Wallace says:

    While I love my family dearly, I'd like a pitch count on the number of times my teenager can yell "Mom!" from wherever he may be rather than walk to where I am.

  3. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    I'd also like to invoke the count over what a friend calls "the mind-numbing monotony of doing laundry". Two things that are true about that here: 98% of any white load is mine (spouse really only has some white sport socks and one or two golf type polos) and when the warm weather comes, the husband now adds to my laundry burden because such golf type shirts go back into his work wardrobe rotation. During the winter he wears button downs and the nice people at the dry-cleaner handle those.

    I'll add putting away left-overs only so that I have to eat them for my lunch for a couple of days. Actually, I'm tired of most of the post-dinner routine: damn it, it's the end of a long day for me, too, but I have to get to my feet after having fallen into a full-stomach stupor and wipe, and rinse, and load, and package, and on and on. All just to get ready to do it again tomorrow.

    Mags, what is a shawty?

  4. Dea, Kia, Jake
    Dea, Kia, Jake says:

    Vick, I'm not exactly sure what "shawty" means, but I think it refers to a nice-looking woman in rap songs. Jay-Z, who is prominent on my iPod, uses the term a lot, as does the guy who sings "low, low, low." I use it to refer to my kids, like "Shawty, would you mind picking up your socks?" Or "Dishwasher needs to be emptied, Shawty." Suffice it to say, they don't think it's funny.

    And Barbara, I'm with you. I now answer to "MOM!" anywhere in the world, even if my kids aren't with me. I've become so accustomed to hearing it, I just assume whoever is calling is calling me.

    Susan, the laundry thing defies explanation. Maggie

  5. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    Oh, I think it's coming clear: I think that is a hooked-on-phonics spelling for "shorty", which I *think* refers to an erection! Or, my mind is once again, as is often the case, on tacky sexual references and blush-inducing language. Thanks.

  6. Vicky Polito
    Vicky Polito says:

    OK–had to investigate further and it seems Mags was right about shorty/shawty describing a sexy woman, and I am just talking trash. My apologies, but I swear I had heard or read my more vulgar explanation somewhere, sometime.

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