For Ryan and Wayne Bond, playing baseball together is nothing new. The brother/brother tandem grew up in Pendleton, Ind., where they played little league and high school baseball together for Pendleton Heights High School. Then in 2003, after his senior year, Ryan left for Indiana State University and it looked for a fading moment like the lifelong baseball partnership might be broken up. Nothing doing. Wayne graduated in 2004 and was also on his way to Indiana State to resume play with his brother. The partnership appeared safe for at least another three years.
But while the 2004 Indiana State season went well for Ryan, by the end of the year Wayne would make the decision to transfer to Lincoln Trail Community College in Robinson, Ill. There he would spend two seasons, earning First Team All-Great Rivers Athletic Conference honors in 2006. It now seemed inevitable, however, that the brothers were destined to play out their baseball careers for separate teams. Then this spring, as Ryan was preparing to make his way to Madison for the summer, he received a phone call from Mallards Manager C.J. Thieleke.
?C.J. called me three days before I left. The plan was that Wayne (pictured left) was going to wait until after the [Major League Baseball] draft when we needed some players but C.J. called and said he needed him right away. I was pretty excited.?
The Bonds were set for another family affair, this time at the Duck Pond in Madison, Wis.
?I was pretty excited,? said Wayne. ?Once I left Indiana State I didn?t know if I?d get to play with [Ryan] ever again.?
But don?t get the wrong idea. While Ryan and Wayne are happy to be playing together again, that doesn?t mean there isn?t a hard competitive nature between the two; even if they haven?t played together for two seasons.
?Our father took care of that (the competition),? said Ryan. ?He?d come home and say Wayne had a diving catch and you struck out twice. I?d want to punch Wayne in the face. He had two hits the first game of the  summer and he was bragging the whole way home.?
Wayne admits that the whole competition thing is nothing new either. In fact, he says it was often times fueled by another couple of Bond brothers.
?It?s always been competitive. We have two older brothers at home that tried to make us compete. We would put on football pads as kids and basically just run into each other just as a way to be competitive.?
But while the first Mallards brother/brother duo has moved on from crashing into each other with football pads, the brotherly rivalry continues today. And once again, the brothers are able to do it from the comfort of a shared dugout. So while the competitive nature is still in full effect, the brothers are able to compliment and pick up each other on and off the field. That said, the Bonds confess they often times opt against giving each other advice, choosing instead to just let things work themselves out on the field.
?We kind of work some things out but we try not to talk too much,? said Ryan. ?We have a twenty minute car ride home and we talk about it there. We?ll give each other pointers. It seems to work out pretty well.?
Whatever the brothers choose to talk about off the field, on the field they let their glove and bat do the talking for them. While they?ve been brought together again, it seems logical to ask is this finally the last time they share a common uniform. Only time will answer that question once and for all.