Marolt: The life of a CPA sports legend
I was in downtown Denver recently and passed the skyscraper I began my work career in. It made me think about baseball.
I was two years removed from four of playing baseball at the University of San Diego, fresh out of grad school, and beginning my career as a CPA at a Big Firm. So steadfastly did I believe my playing days were over that I didn’t hang up my spikes; I threw them away.
Then one day I got the call — “We want you to play.”
Oh, brother. The past was the past and I was moving on, but baseball was on my resume, because they said that’s a good idea since you could once hurl a baseball 92 mph, and this distinguished me from other applicants who spent their time at college studying, thus making me more attractive.
“Alright,” I said reluctantly.
The rest is history, as they say. I stepped to the plate four times the first night and knocked four balls out of the park. I was an instant hero and, as my teammates bought the beers, I thought, “This isn’t so bad.” That was my initiation into The Denver Accountant’s Co-ed Softball League (DACSL).
Softball is a weak caricature of baseball, but if you end up being good at something — it doesn’t matter what — you’ll like it. This explains why things like bowling, darts and marathon running survive.
My career in the DACSL progressed, and my feats became legendary in the annals of bean counter athletics. I’m pretty sure I never made an out at the plate, but my friend Doug pointed out that I surely must have hit a ball at a fielder at some point, so I will concede that during the 12-game season someone theoretically might have miraculously caught a ball I hit and so, conservatively, my batting average could have been as low as possibly .975.
One of the greatest moments was when I overslept on a Saturday morning and arrived just as the game was about over. Somebody spotted me in the parking lot — “He’s here!” My teammates waved me over frantically. It turned out — and nobody can make this up — the bases were loaded, there were two outs, and we were down by three runs. They put me in to pinch-hit, bedhead and all. The first pitch — I swung. The ump called “Strike…” Naw, I’m just kidding. I walloped that first pitch over the wall to dead centerfield. Game over. Perfect season preserved.
Then there was the play that cinched my place in CPA sports lore. I was out in left field with a runner on second. I fielded the hit as the base runner rounded third. I fired the ball home, but it was a hair off-line and drilled the runner squarely in the back. He dropped like a stone.
The CPAs from both teams rushed to see if he still knew a debit from a credit. I ran in, too. Then the circumstance became clear. Here was the runner lying on the ground and the ball sitting a few yards away. I grabbed the ball and tagged him. I had to remind the ump that he was now “out” in the baseball sense, too. For those keeping score at home, that’s a 7-7 put-out in the book. In other words, I threw the ball from the outfield to myself at home plate and tagged the runner out. I promise you, that’s far rarer than a no-hitter or even a perfect game and certainly a first for the DACSL.
Considering the fame “the throw” garnered, my buddy Marink, a solid number-cruncher in his own right, asked if I could throw a baseball from our office building, in the middle of the block, to the top of the six-story parking garage across the street. Doubting I’d ever be put to the test, I bragged that I could.
“It would have to travel about 325 feet,” he replied, having already calculated the required flight trajectory.
Word spread through the Denver accounting community, and Marink started a betting pool. On the appointed day several hundred dollars were on the line and a crowd in dark suits gathered to watch. I threw four times and missed all four, including one that bounced off the top of a passing bus on the rebound. My arm hanging by a tendon, I was ready to concede.
“You know,” Marink confided in me. “JoAnne was the only one who bet on you.”
I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding. Haven’t the others heard the stories?” and motioned for the ball.
I’m proud to say JoAnne went home that evening three hundred dollars richer and the DACSL legend lived.
Roger Marolt is happy to report that the CPA who got beaned by him survived, although soon after his recovery decided to become an actuary, whose sports league was statistically much safer. firstname.lastname@example.org
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