I was invited to throw out the first pitch at a Toledo Mud Hens game last week. No, wait… let me correct that, a ceremonial pitch. No team in their right mind wants me to throw out the first pitch unless they want to be one run behind before the echoes of the National Anthem have even faded. That being said, my toss was a little high and nicely over the plate and the kick-off to a very enjoyable evening.
I’ve written so much over the years about Ed Crankshaft’s time with the Mud Hens and how on a sultry summer night he faced down three of the greatest hitters of the era and showed what might have been had the fates only been a little kinder, that it’s a little like returning to the scene of the crime for me. Although the Mud Hens beautiful new stadium is a far cry from the one that Ed played in, it’s still the Mud Hens and so I try to soak up as much of it as I can.
I didn’t get to see a lot of the game because I was busy signing the new Crankshaft book by the Hens Nest sports shop, but I did get to meet a lot of nice folks and folks who were Crankshaft fans. Crankshaft has been in the Toledo Blade from its inception and with the changing media landscape, we seem to have entered the fin de siecle of the American newspaper comics page. But, much like Ed Crankshaft’s golden summer, it was nice to spend a summer evening in the Mud Hens stadium among friends and fans of the strip.
I’d like to thank everyone involved with the Mud Hens for all of the courtesies shown to my wife Cathy and me while we were there and of making it such a memorable experience. For those interested in the new Crankshaft baseball book ‘Strike Four’ you can find it by going to the Books section on this site. For now, that’s about the size of it.