OK, so the Mariners probably don’t know who the Crushers are.
Truth be told, our daughter and son-in-law were at Spring Training over the weekend down in Peoria, Arizona.
Wandering around in the 90-degree sunshine (yes, somewhere in the world that happens), they held up the two-word script ‘score-card’ “Go Crushers” (Video credit: Kevin and Christina Klas) and Mariner players read it back with the kind of mitt-pounding, ear-to-ear smiling enthusiasm that accompanies warm spring weather, probably followed off-camera by ‘So, who are the Crushers again?’
Still, one of them was none-other-than Prosser, Washington born Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., who just happens to be the M’s pitching coach! So how ‘bout that!
And a video endorsement – even though they’ve never heard of us (yet) – what’s better than that?
Here’s what’s better than that:
In our fourth season of Tillicum Crusher baseball – the boys having swung their first bat long ago though seems like yesterday as seven-year-olds: then in tattered jeans, running the bases backwards (“no, first we run to first”), and generally somewhat clueless all of which and more however was made up for by the bubble-gum popping residue on smiling faces – this year we’re pro’s.
The only difference between the Crushers and the Mariners – other than the obvious size differential of the players and color of uniforms, and of course the name – is the distance between bases (we’re 60, they’re 90), and they get to lead off, we don’t.
Other than that, like the Mariners, the Crushers even select from the draft which suggests maybe we’re not the Tillicum Crushers anymore, just Crushers. Still, though some of the boys attend other schools, nevertheless they come back. The Crushers – the Tillicum Crushers – it’s that team for which they still want to play.
And, like the M’s, we line up at home plate to high-five the homerun hitter. Hey, it’s happened.
And we chew bubblegum.
We’re big league. And not only the M’s think so, a lot of Lakewood does too.
Without mentioning them all, Clover Park Kiwanis for example recently sent money our way to ensure the boys would be able to register in time. Ditto one of the largest churches in the city.
Far and away however, most financial support comes – not from parents, as we don’t collect from them given for many it would be a hardship but also because of the wonderful community partnership that has underwritten the team: our own Friday-night lights, but – from individuals.
One said, “This is the happiest check I write every year.”
Another wrote on the ‘reason why’ line of his check: “in honor of my two kids.”
Yes, the Mariner’s get their endorsements.
So do we.
Thank you Lakewood community!
And thank you Lakewood Baseball Club, a member of America’s PONY (Protect Our Nation’s Youth) league, for making these memories possible!