An ode to Black fatherhood through a baseball league

Center field can be a lonely place.

One writer compared playing the position to manning a remote observation post. You see the whole human drama transpiring from afar, waiting for some crisis — say, a line drive — that will demand your lickety-split response.

My youth league coach stuck me out there in the great days of the Foxfire-Ponderosa Athletic Association. I was basically the sort of kid who hoped a fly ball would go somebody else’s way. While I waited for the batter, I tried without success to stop myself from daydreaming about “Star Wars,” or Atari or the dewy sodas waiting for us in the coolers after the game.

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I was perfectly mediocre. Myron Pitts’ baseball card is one you bundled with a bunch of other so-so players to trade for a really good player.

Myron Pitts poses for a photo with his youth baseball team from 1979, the Braves.

I hit exactly two home runs in my six years, and they are two of the greatest things I own. We had no fence at the field in front of Westover High School, so when you hit a homer, you had to really pop it, baby, and run faster than the outfielder chasing your ball. The only other image on my highlight reel is becoming an alternate on the all-star team, after I had grown older and switched to third base.

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