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By Max Blue

Aleksandr William Fritz is eight and a half years old midway through the first year of the 21st century. A couple of weeks ago he was fitted for his first pair of glasses to correct what appears to be a mild case of myopia.

Last Saturday, just past noon, with the sun boiling down from a high blue sky, and the temperature edging past 95 just two weeks from the Summer solstice Š a day made for baseball, Aleks buckled on the "tools of ignorance" and went behind the plate for his Washington Township, New Jersey youth baseball team oddly called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Aleks didn¹t know that more than 80 years before, his great grandfather John William Fritz did some catching for the Belleville, Illinois town team. He also didn¹t know that some 50 years earlier his grandfather Paul John Fritz did the same for a team in East Peoria, Illinois, and that just 30 years ago his father Kurt William Fritz was a catcher in the Hershey, Pennsylvania Teener Baseball program.

Aleks will learn all these things in due time, but when he went into his squint (that¹s squat, Aleks) for the first time last Saturday, he had more important things on his mind. When the first foul ball clanged off his mask he did not flinch. He picked up the ball and fired it back to the pitcher.

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