So we’ve come up with a few segments for the show where I have a special guest to help me show the audience some things about baseball that I can’t demonstrate with the boys. The special guest is Lucas, who already appeared on one episode right after he got back from college for the summer. The audience response was positive…although a lot of it had nothing to do with baseball. Lucas is young enough to think it’s cool that his instagram blew up after the episode aired, so he was game to return to the show after he got back from baseball camp. (It’s not the same camp he went to when he was in high school….I think this one’s called a ‘clinic’, although it’s still basically baseball camp, just without the arts and crafts. One easy way to give Lucas shit is to call it camp lol.)
That segment in June was the two of us playing what we called Kiké Hernández Catch when he was still my student (and Kiké was still a Dodger.) Like I’ve explained before, that’s playing catch but trying to throw it so that the dude you’re playing with has to make as athletic a catch as possible. It’s a really fun way to play catch, and the footage of us playing turned out great. You could tell we were having a good time practicing diving catch after diving catch.
We worked out what the other segments were going to be while Lucas was away at his ‘clinic’. He was probably the only person there who was regularly getting text messages from a reality show production team, and he thought that was pretty cool. What we worked out was a two-part batting clinic, half with me pitching to Lucas, and half with Lucas pitching to me, and with both of us discussing the other’s swing. Maya and Jean-François decided that it would be ok for it to get kinda technical, since one of the points of the segment is to be educational, and maybe help parents understand something about their kids’ little league swings. Or, if you play, maybe you’ll learn how to analyze your own swing after watching us and listening to what we have to say.
The third segment is gonna be something different but a lot of fun: a class in how to slide. I’ve never told y’all this in so many words, but I loved sliding and did it whenever I could. I was pleased when Jacob asked to learn how, which is one reason I cared so much about getting the right dirt. The viewers have seen the base path we created, of course, and they’ve seen me show Jacob how to slide (Matteo’s made it clear he has no desire to get that dirty.) But two experienced players – a college starter and an ex-pro – who really know what they’re doing on the base path should be a great way to get people to understand what goes into a slide.
We filmed everything in one week and they’re going to cut it into three segments to air successive weeks. That worked with Lucas’ schedule, since he’s going back to school to start his junior year next week already.
(Lucas college update (way overdue lol): he broke up with his freshman year girlfriend – if y ‘all remember Rosalind – which is what usually happens…although they did manage to stay together over that first summer. She was making too much drama sophomore year, though, and my advice to my former pupil wasn’t exactly dump her ass, but it was to get as far away from that kind of drama as you can, especially during baseball season. He also got rid of his crazy roommate with the caterpillars. He roomed with a couple teammates last year, but this year he’s gotten himself a single room…so he’ll have his privacy and there’ll be nothing to cramp his style when it comes to girls. He hasn’t tried to pull off anything like 30 chicks/30 days, which is dang smart in today’s climate (just look at the sexual harassment problems I’m having!), but let’s say he’s getting an education. It’s cool that he comes to me for advice, no disrespect to Carter, who I like plenty. (Keaton: “who would you go to for advice about chicks – him or you, bubba?”) I also reckon I might get Lucas in a way Carter doesn’t, since we’re both ball players, and there’s a jock/chick dynamic that maybe you have to be a jock to understand.)
Back to the show.
Y’all are going to see me and Lucas in basketball shorts and tshirts for the batting sessions, but, you need baseball pants to slide properly. Robert decided it would look good if we wore jerseys from our respective teams. So I’m wearing my Los Cervezeros jersey and Lucas is wearing his Denison jersey, which the show had to call Ohio to have them send it to us. (I don’t think I told y’all but Denison won the NCAC championship this year.) I think it’s going to come out great, although after something close to half an hour of solid sliding, the two of us were covered in my special baseball dirt. No, neither of us can slide like Trea Turner, but both of us can do the thing that Jacob keeps trying to do: get back on your feet after a slide without using your hands. Watch the segment: you’ll see what goes into that, besides a lot of squats and a lot of practice.
After all that work in the dirt, we’re wrapping the Lucas segments with some footage of the two of us cooling off in the pool. (Keaton: “it sounds so fuckin gay I can’t stand it…why don’t the two of you model underwear while you’re at it?”) What can I say? Me and Lucas both love to be in the water. And, yeah, Lucas does kinda look like an underwear model with his shirt off lol. But what can I do? I can’t change the way we look…or the way our Instagram followers look at us.
The great part about having Lucas on the show was that I got to spend a few days with him. We text all the time, and he calls me when he needs advice (about baseball or about girls), but it’s not the same as getting to hang out. I can’t begin to tell y’all what a great ball player he’s turned out to be, and I reckon, yeah, I feel proud that I have a pupil who’s a starter on his college team in the position he always wanted to play. (Joyce: “you’ve got a talent for teaching…just don’t forget that while you’re doing everything else you’re doing on the show.”)
The Lucas segments should show off some adult baseball technique, and, as Jean-François put it, will give the audience a view of more of my “range”. The audience so far has only seen me doing baseball activities with the boys, and, while that’s cool, and while the cameras have come to a couple Cervezeros games, that was as much about the boys having fun in the park as it was about me hitting a jonrón. Seeing me up close and personal with another real ball player will let the audience see a side of me that hasn’t shown up so far on At Home with Maya. So far the audience has seen me as a baseball tutor, the pool boy, an assistant dog trainer and an exercise coach…these segments with Lucas will show me off in my most natural element: playing ball.