One girl gave me a bunch of prompts with horses on the field running over players. She loves horses and we always tease her about how everything is about horses with her. In fact, I refused to accept her prompt until she came up with a non-horse one. She she gave me one about a dog getting loose on the field. So it goes.
But, as promises, since she came up with a non-horse prompt, here's my horse story for her.
“What would it take for you to like baseball?” Paul asked his sister.
Charlotte thought for a moment, “horses on the field.”
“Wouldn’t that be polo?” Paul replied.
Charlotte stuck her tongue out at him.
“Seriously,” Paul challenged her.
“I don’t know,” Charlotte responded. “I guess I just like horses. Baseball doesn’t do a lot for me.”
“Why do you like horses so much?”
“Why do you like baseball so much?”
Paul thought for a moment.
“What’s not to like?”
“Um, it’s slow paced, boring and doesn’t have any horses.”
“You never know if there’ll be a lot of home runs or a no hitter until it happens. A lot of times it’s starts off one way and then it changes just like that,” he snapped his finger. “Why do you like horses so much?”
“They’re so powerful. When I’m riding, I feel like nothing can stop me. I feel free.”
“When I play baseball and get a solid hit or make an amazing play, I feel the same way.”
They ate their snack for a bit, just thinking.
Paul remembered something.
“Did you know that the Boston police mounted unit used be at Fenway Park for crowd control. In fact, when the Sox clinched the AL East title in 1986, the mounted unit was on the warning track around the field to keep people from running onto the field?”
“I did not know that,” Charlotte replied.
“In fact, there was a photo of Roger Clemens in the paper of him jumping up on the back of the horse with one of the police and riding around the edge of the field. He wasn’t pitching that day, so he had t-shirt on with a bunch of K’s on it because he holds the record for the most strikeouts in a baseball game.”
“So you’re telling me there was a horse on the field.”
“Yes, yes there was.”
“Hmmm,” Charlotte though for a second, “that’s pretty cool.”
“In fact, a couple of years ago when the City of Boston decided to cut the budget of the mounted police, the owners of the Red Sox said they were willing to pay for them because they spent so much time doing crowd control and protection around the Red Sox.”
“I did not know that.”
“Now you do.”
“Yes I do.”
“So you’re telling me the Red Sox are horse friendly.”
Paul thought for a second. “I guess I am.”
“The City of Boston said, ‘no’ and the mounted unit is mostly in New York now protecting the Yankees and Yankees Stadium.”
“That’s not so good.”
“But at least they’re still doing what they know.”
“That’s true,” Charlotte said, “it’s always good when horses get to do what they like to do. If the horses like being around people the way police horses do, then it’s good they’re still doing that.”
“Knowing that, would you give the Red Sox a chance? I mean, they tried to keep the police horses in Boston.”
“Maybe. I mean,” Charlotte shrugged, “it’s the whole baseball thing that I have to get past now but the Red Sox seem kind of cool.”
“But, now that you know the team is horse friendly and used to allow horses on the field, does that make it easier to like them.”
“Well that and they’re from Boston.”
“OK, so you now have three things to like about them…”
“Four if you count that some of the players are…” dropping her voice to an embarrassed whisper, “kind of cute.”
“I guess, I mean, that’s not my thing.”
“I’m just saying, you now have some reasons to look at the Red Sox in a way that let you find things you can like about them.”
“OK, so let’s watch an inning of the game. Think about how these guys are horse friendly and see if there’s something you like. I’ll even explain it to you.”
“If I do that, will you watch a horse show with me?”
“I already have to go to your shows.”
“And I have to go to your Little League games. But if I watch an inning of baseball with you and you explain it to me, then you have to watch a jumping match with me so I can explain it to you.”
Paul scrunched up his face the way he did when he thought.
“Make it two innings.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes and made a face.
“Deal.” He stuck out his hand, “shake on it.”
She took his extended hand and shook.
“Hey, has a horse ever run over a baseball player on the field?”
“I don’t think so. That wouldn’t be good.”
“But it would be kind of funny.”
“Not it wouldn’t.”
“Because then you’d have a hurt player and that would sort of not be good.”
“But think about it. Here’s this baseball player standing in the field and suddenly,” she brought her hands together in a slapping collision, “here’s this horse on the field and it knocks him over. Tell me you wouldn’t laugh.”
“Well… I might. It depends.”
“Then every time you turn on the news or a sports show, what do you see for the next few days? A baseball player getting run over by a horse. You know someone’s going to put in sound effects or that they’ll make fun of it on Saturday Night Live or something. Then the player would be kind of famous for getting run over by a horse.”
“Why would you even think something like that?”
“I don’t know. It just sort of jumped into my head.”
“You’re weird. Are you sure you’re my sister?”
“Are you sure you’re my brother?”
“But it would be kind of funny.”
“Actually it would.”
“You know what wouldn’t be funny,” she said.
“If a horse slipped on a baseball and got hurt.”
Paul thought for a minute.
“I can’t think of anything funny about that,” he agreed. “In fact, it would be really sad because the horse would probably have to be put down, wouldn’t it.”
“Probably,” Charlotte said. “Even if it was able to recover, it would never be able to compete or work the way it would before being hurt. That would make me really sad.”
Paul thought for a second.
“So think about that for a minute. A baseball player unexpectedly getting run over by a horse and getting hurt is funny, but a horse getting hurt by a baseball isn’t.”
“Sounds about right to me,” Charlotte nodded.
“It does to me too, but I don’t know why.”
“Probably because we expect people to recover from being hurt, but not horses when stuff like that happens.”
Paul looked at her.
“For a little sister, you’re pretty smart when you want to be.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes.
“For an older brother, you’re kind of a jerk.”
Paul smiled and laughed. “And don’t you forget it.”
They both laughed.
“So… the game’s on in an hour. Are you really going to watch the first couple of innings with me?”
“I said I would.”
“And tomorrow, there’s an event on ESPN. Are you really going to watch with me?”
“If you watch baseball with me today.”
“Maybe,” she said, “if I understand baseball better, I won’t spend all of your Little League game reading and being bored.”
“And maybe I won’t spend your events pretending to sleep and going to the snack bar every two seconds.”
“I can live with that.”
“If you decide you like baseball, would you want me to teach you how to throw and hit?”
“I guess it would be a good thing if you taught me those things. I kind of need them for gym and stuff. So yeah, you can teach me how to throw and hit.”
“Cool. Maybe you could teach me how to ride sometime.”
“Are you serious!”
“None of that jumping or silly stuff. I just think it would be kind of cool to know how to ride a horse. Then if we ever go someplace with horses, I’d be able to keep up instead of having to ride the baby ponies in a circle sort of thing.”
Charlotte hugged her brother.
“So we should clean up before the game or mom’s going to be kind of mad,” Paul said as he broke from her embrace.
“I’ll clean up. It’s not that hard you know. Maybe I should teach you how to do the dishes.”
Paul rolled his eyes.
“I know how to do the dishes. I just don’t want to do the dishes.”
Charlotte shrugged, “Except for big things like Thanksgiving, it’s not that hard.”
“I know. I just don’t like doing dishes.”
Charlotte shook her head.
“Are you sure we’re related? Maybe you were switched at birth or something.”
“I was just thinking that about you.”
“Let’s clean up together and then we’ll watch the game.”
“Just don’t expect any horses on the field today.”
Charlotte laughed. “I won’t.”