Michael Sullivan Online


Week 17: The Baseball Gods Shine Upon Mike After the Cheesy Gods Cause Trouble

CANBERRA AUSTRALIA - 29 August 2000 - This week was an interesting week for Mike. On Thursday, Mike received a long awaited package from home. It contained a bunch of magazines and some cookies (biscuits) as they're called here. Unfortunately, one thing was missing from the cut open box: Mike's Cheesy salsa. The customs officers confiscated it since cheese products and other dairy products are not allowed into the country. (A list of unacceptable items can be found at the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.) Mike was heart-broken but at least he got some new Rolling Stone and CMJ New Music Monthly magazines as well as some cookies.

Friday was a much much better day. Mike worked most of the day and didn't play pool like normal. Instead, Mike went home, had some dinner and watched the first hour of the Survivor finale. He saw as Kelly sealed Sue's fate and Rudy's blunder at the idol. After Kelly took her chances by voting Rudy off and leaving her up against Rich, Mike went to a party with Danne. It was a farewell to some people from University House whom Mike had gone out with a couple times before. Everyone seemed to have a good time and Mike was no exception. As much fun as this was, Mike got really excited as a group of people started basically frying this dough like a doughnut but it was long and thin (not round). To eat it, you dipped it in sugar and chocolate. While this was great, the thing that caught Mike's attention was an ad on the side of a milk carton. It said something to the effect of: ACT Baseball Association Come and Try Day at Narrabunda Park. While Mike had had a few drinks over the course of the evening and it was rather late, Mike etched the important details in his head. He had talked so much about looking for this sort of opportunity ever since he'd arrived in Austrlia. The next morning, Mike got the paper and sure enough they had all the details about it there. It was on Sunday across town so he checked out the bus schedule and located the target.

At about noon, Mike hustled out for the bus and passed the time (just over a half hour) by reading an Olympic flyer that had come with the paper. As he was about 45 minutes early, he watched as some kids took batting practice. At the appointed time, he went down to the area where the event was taking place and introduced himself. After tossing around the ball a bit, he showed some little kids how to pitch. Some of them had a distinct cricket bowling approach where the elbow doesn't bend and others seemed to know what they were doing. It was then that Mike realized that these kids don't grow up with baseball; they don't know any great baseball players and certainly don't have the tradition. They've never for example imitated a pitchers delivery or keyed in on some quark a particular pitcher had. All in all, it was a great time and Mike thinks he may be playing some hardball this summer.

Here ends Mike's seventeenth week in Australia.

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