Xavier At The Bat

First, there was the Xavier's train obsession for two full years, after his cousins gave him their entire Thomas the Tank Engine set of tracks and trains for his first birthday. He slept with his trains, ate with his trains and played all day long with his trains. But then his dad took him to his first Seattle Mariners baseball game right before his third birthday. He sat, enthralled, through 13 innings (with a short nap in his seat). He was hooked. Boompa sent him a Twins baseball hat from Minneapolis and then a Mariners Jersey. Uncle Patrick gave him a glove. He'd now rather watch baseball highlights than train cartoons and likes videos of bloopers even better.

Most days, we walk to the baseball diamond in the park where we throw pretend balls. Xavier directs the plays, slides into bases, insists on slow-motion replays. He delights in saying, with hand motions and appropriate flair, "He-eee's Out!" or "He-eee's Safe!" At 10-months old, his sister Georgia watches him in adoration from the grass and claps her hands to cheer. He says matter-of-factly, "My sister is my number one fan."

In our backyard, he can actually connect with the wiffle ball, tennis ball or real baseball on the tee on almost every swing. He's also started hitting home runs over the fence into the neighbors' yards. He listens to Casey at the Bat on cd (written in 1887) on the car stereo if we can't find a game on the radio. At home I often overhear him singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to himself. He makes baseball diamonds out of Legos. He practices his batting technique and pitching form in the mirror. I'm trying to entice him to get excited for potty-training with bribes of baseball cards and plastic baseball figures.

The stack of library books next to his bed includes:
The Visual Encyclopedia of Baseball
Eyewitness Baseball
Baseball ABC and also Baseball from A-Z
Baseball Is...
Brothers at the Bat

Some recent quotes:
"I'm not Xavier, I'm Ichiro."
"Give it up for me!" as he runs around the bases with his hands up in victory
"Watch this replay, Mom!"
"That player is a switch-hitter like me!"
After I point out a Blue Jay in the park, "That's a baseball team!"

And he loves to hear his Daddy "announce" him...

It has been five months now of this obsession. Daddy has promised him he can join a tee-ball team next summer when he is four.

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