On a recent afternoon at the playground near Bickerdike Park, two 12-year-old boys saw Scout and me and a bat and gloves and asked if we wanted to play ball.
"I'm Gabriel," the scrawny one said, and pointed to his friend. "This is Anthony."
Sure, I said: us against you.
"I'm a lefty," Gabriel added.
The boys readily agreed to lenient rules for Scout and when she got a base hit, they gave her a fist-bump and called her by name and told me conspiratorially, "Man, she's fast!"
The first game, the boys beat us 24-11 in nine innings, and Scout cried a few times.
The next game was called after six because Gabriel had to go home for dinner.
So we won, 7-6, and Scout was thrilled.
Gabriel and Anthony congratulated her generously and said they hoped we'd have a chance to play again.
"We're here pretty much every day," Gabriel said.
"Okay, see you again soon, Man!" I said.
As we picked up the bases, Scout asked, "Why do you keep calling them 'Man'?"
Because I'm happy.