Red dust on a baseball

Stealing Home: Bubba, Baseball, Red Dust

Welcome Baseball Season!

I’d thought I’d share a short story about a young kid that I knew as Bubba. His name was Roger and he was my brother.  I believe that it’s because of him that I have developed a lifelong love of baseball. I hope you enjoy my memory of red dust and Bubba!

 

Stealing Home

 

The first time I watched my brother, Roger, play ball on an organized team he was 12, and I was 10. He was a natural. He was new to this team, and Mom and Granddad just spent a lot of money on his gear. This was going to be his year. There he was in brand new cleats and an Indians uniform that made him look like a pro to me. Number six will always be my favorite.

  I remember watching his batting stance, and hearing my mom say “he’s still a little gun-shy from last year.”  Granddad didn’t’ hesitate in his slow southern drawl, “don’t worry; he’ll shake ‘em off.” Then that sound, the snap of a ball against the bat and ball flies back, it’s a foul. He’s got a taste for the pitcher now, but he doesn’t want anything to do with him. He shortens up his strike-zone and the pitcher can’t get the ball where he needs it.  Ump calls it, ball four, and he trots his walk to first with a smile on his face.

This is where the magic happens, He doesn’t look like much, but he’s quicker than you might think. You have to keep your eye on this guy, because he’s so fast, in a cloud of red dust, he just stole second.  I guess he was just realizing his ability to move and get there, but he was good at getting there. Where ever that was.  Next thing you know he’s moving forward again, faster than the last time, charging third base.  It didn’t take long for this trend to catch on, he stole home right after that.

He was an underestimated hot shot, and now he is shining. Some girls from school are watching and he is liking the attention. This kid just stole 3 bases, this is huge. Just a couple innings later, he was able to pull it off again, this time as if it was a job requirement. He was dirty and sweaty, and I could tell he was getting tired. This was Oklahoma in the heat of the summer, mind you.

 I had seen him run further and faster than this. This wasn’t just speed, though. This was strategy and he was on point. Every time. During this particular game he ended up stealing nine bases and 3 of them were home plate. He was on fire, and no one could slow him down. He set out on some sort of make it home mission, and he kept making it home. I don’t think he was just getting lucky.

This memory strikes a connection with Jeff Black’s Ghosts in the Graveyard, and the meteor that fades away.  My brother has since passed, and to me, he left in a cloud of red dust, in a hurry to steal home.

“I thought would live here forever

I thought we would learn to fly by now

And not fall

And all the time we spend together

Really aint no time at all”

                                Jeff Black

 

Written by Roger’s sister Tammy Zoe Bergland.

 

We lost Roger in late 2012 due to injuries from an accident.   At that time he was doing what he had always wanted, serving in the U.S. Army in The Old Guard, stationed at Ft. Myer Virginia.  

I’ve changed jobs, settled in after a grief-stricken time, still grieving. It comes in waves from out of nowhere.  Things to keep my mind occupied are five grandsons, gardening, quilting, and life in general.

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