Better late than never

Little League's been in full swing for a while now, but I'm just catching up.  A wonderful little book, A Prayer for the Opening of the Little League Season, appears to have gone out of print, but if you can find it used somewhere and it's not too dear, pick it up—it's a treasure and the illustrations are just lovely.  

Dear Almighty God,

This is a prayer for all the kids of all races and creeds in the boundless earthly springtime as baseball once more commences, as it has and will eternally in the ordinance and charter of Thy inexorable seasons.

First, bless the youthful catchers—in their awkward knee pads and chest pads and masks, their unwieldy tools of ignorance, which shelter all the boys who possess the valor to be catchers—that they may be safe from injury and neglect, from errant curveballs and stray fast ones and sharp little fouls that nip the mortal flesh.

Protect the little infielders from bad bounces and assuage the pain of wounded lips and cheeks when blood mingles with the infield soil; grant them deft shovel dips and 6-4-3 double plays.

Spare the eager outfielders from misjudging long drives in the lengthening twilight, permit them swift, diving catches in the dry and tranquil grass, and assure them hard, accurate tosses on cutoff throws to the inmost diamonds, straight to second, or at the corners with the runners going.

Save the young pitchers from all erratic affliction as the line drives whip past their heads and torsos and toes, and give them mastery of their fastballs and curves, that they may outwit the fledgling enemy sluggers, especially with men on the bases...

...Above all, grant us boyhood and girlhood, where in time's soft reverie we are forever children, and where baseball shall dwell with us always, and where sharp grounders are eternally fielded in a new leather glove and drives to deep center are ceaselessly ensnared in shoestring catches and the wicked curveballs are met with two-run singles to left-center, to win the game in the bottom half of the ninth.

In Thy infinite wisdom and grace, our Great Umpire in the Heavens, grant all this in perpetuity to all the baseball children of the earth.