No matter the age, boys will be boys, especially when it comes to being competitive.
“The worst thing is when you hit the ball and start running,” said Mark Jenkins, one of the players in Saturday’s Howell alumni baseball game. “Despite all you know, or how old you are, the first inclination is to go hard to first base, because you’ve been doing it since you were a kid. But that’s where a lot of hammys (hamstring muscles) go to die.”
The goal, of course, is to preserve as many hamstrings, and muscles in general, as is humanly possible during the game, which will be played at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Howell High School. The game also will be broadcast on The Livingston Post at around 12:10 p.m.
Besides, there’s the social aspect to the game, in its 10th year and eighth edition.
“For me, it’s been about being able to get back and hang out with the guys for a day,” Jenkins said. “The batting practice and knocking around here in the morning before the game is just as much fun as the rest of it.”
That doesn’t mean there’s no shortage of friendly banter.
Bob Burton, a 1993 grad, is playing on a team opposite of his son Bailey, a 2016 graduate.
“I think he wants to pitch to me and see what happens,” Bob Burton said, chuckling. “He’s got a little mix of stuff. We’ll see. He’s got to give me one good pitch.”
Under the revised rules of the game, that will happen. Pitchers are encouraged to pitch to opponents their age, while hopefully giving a little quarter to older players.
“I remember the first game I went to,” said Jenkins, who played in the first six games, missing only the 2015 contest. “I graduated in 1978, and I saw those guys who graduated in the late ’60s, and I thought, man, they’re getting up there. Now that’s me.”
The Burtons each are playing in their first alumni game.
“I always wanted to play, but I never had a real reason to,” Burton said. “Now it’s going to be a real neat experience, as my son will be there, too.”