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  • Bill Chastain

Late Night Cries of a Baby

The idea of having to change a diaper lived as my biggest fear prior to having children.

Looking back, that was like being afraid of sharks when you don’t know how to swim.

In reality, lack of sleep is the true beast.

The 2:30 a.m. cry of a hungry baby always managed to wake me. Wonder why those same cries never roused Patti? Guess she slept more soundly back then.

Thank goodness for ESPN.

After changing the baby’s diaper — child’s play I found — and heating a bottle, I would feed the baby and collect my bonus by tuning into the 24-hour sports network.baby bottle 2

Chris Berman became a religious experience, his likeness appearing on the screen like an angel of mercy during the late version of Sports Center. The soothing sounds of “back, back, back” or “Fettuccine” Alfredo Griffin and Bert “Be Home” Blyleven always helped the formula go down. No doubt Berman wet-nursed as many babies as The Tonight Show created.

If I wasn’t fortunate enough to have the baby awaken when the late version of Sports Center aired, I would pave new roads. Most any programming is acceptable during late-night feedings.

Imagine knowing the ins and outs of professional bowling and Australian Rules Football — I did. Inside the PGA was a decent show, but I got frustrated watching good golf while my already sad game rotted from lack of play. My favorite show featured major league players arm wrestling.

Picture actually caring if Tim Raines could go “over the top” on Steve Sax. Back then it mattered.

Through blood-shot eyes and sagging lids, I took solace in the fact I would one day watch others agonize over their newborn, rationalizing all the while that at least I was young enough to be able to withstand such an ordeal.

That has now come to fruition. My kids, Carly and Kel, are grown. And as I cover baseball, I grow older while the kids on the teams I cover remain the same age. Alas, when on the road, I observe those players with babies. Being in a hotel with unlimited hours to sleep can do remarkable things for the sleep deprived.

Their faces brings back the sounds of those early mornings past. Been there.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography