The rhythm of the game of baseball encourages conversation for those watching, at least when the loudspeakers aren't violating the peaceful air with annoying racket.
For Shane Wedd, formerly of Lawrence High and Kansas University, baseball is a profession. He is an assistant baseball coach at Pratt Community, the city where he was born when his father coached there. For Dirk Wedd, Lawrence High football coach, baseball is a passion and an escape.
No matter how much angst his job can bring him, which now is plenty given the parting of ways with Haskell Stadium, it all washes away when he gets lost in a baseball game.
Shane, in town for a reunion with former KU baseball teammates, and Dirk enjoyed a few innings together sitting along the first-base line Friday night at Hoglund Park, where Missouri junior right-hander Aaron Crow showed why the Kansas City Royals would be wise to make him the third overall selection in the June draft.
As is so often the case when a child returns home and reminisces with his father, a sentence began with, "Remember the time when mom ... ''
Mom is Junior Wedd, cheerleading coach at LHS and no shrinking violet.
The year was 1997. A freshman at KU, Shane was in Norman, Okla., for a game against the Sooners. A big guy, Shane walked to the plate, and a heckler let him have it: "Hey, Shane, you never met a ravioli you didn't like."
Junior, according to Dirk and Shane, countered loudly: "Shut up!"
That, of course, was the equivalent of opening the heckler's mouth, pulling his tongue out and giving it a free sharpening.
"Oh, Shane," the heckler mocked, prolonging each syllable, "your mom's here."
"He singles and they pinch-run for him," Dirk recounted. "He runs off the field and looks into the stands, glaring at his mom."
The father's laughing. The son is not. He's shaking his head, still stinging after all these years from the ribbing he received from upperclassmen.
For the most part, though, it was an enjoyable evening for Shane Wedd. It always is when he watches Crow pitch. Crow was the ace of the Falmouth Commodores in the prestigious Cape Cod League last summer. Wedd was an assistant coach. They have known each other since Crow, a graduate of Washburn Rural High in Topeka, was 15 and pitching for the Kansas City Sluggers summer team for which Wedd was an assistant coach.
"In the all-star game he threw, he struck out three of the best hitters in the league," Wedd said.
Losing to Crow (11-0, 11 strikeouts Friday, last of 117 pitches clocked at 96 mph) is no cause for KU to grow hangdog. Splitting the next two games of the series and then winning two of three against Kansas State next weekend should put the Jayhawks in comfortable position to make the eight-team Big 12 Conference tournament.
Crow makes Missouri better than Kansas. Otherwise, the teams play on the same level. KU is 8-14 in the Big 12. Crow has a 7-0 Big 12 record, and the Tigers are 5-10 in the rest.