There’s always been baseball

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.

-Field of Dreams

The Mister and I have a 27-game package for the Detroit Tigers.  We’re both huge fans and have been for life.  We even went during the bad years.  So when I’m not at home, the next best place to check is the ballpark, especially if it’s a Saturday night.

Last Friday night we were at a game not-regularly-scheduled for our package.   So we had different seats in the bleachers than we usually have.  As I watched the kids vie for a ball during the opponent’s batting practice, something usual happened–two kids dived for the same ball and ended up getting in a tousle over it.  Before I knew it, one kid was crying and the other one (the bigger one who should have known better) had the ball.

Just then, the big kid’s dad yelled at him to give the ball to the little guy.  At first, the little guy wouldn’t take it.  He kept shaking his head and pointing back at the kid who held the ball.  But eventually he did take it.

And this is where baseball truly inspires me…the kid who got the ball spent the rest of his time helping his new friend get a ball.  When one of the outfielders would turn towards the bleachers to throw up a used ball, the little guy would point towards the big kid and yell and scream for them to throw it to him–the very kid who knocked him down and took his ball.  And I thought to myself, “Self, sometimes this world isn’t so bad after all.”

Then there was last night.  As I was leaving class, I called my mother.  She said she couldn’t talk long as Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was in the 8th inning of a perfect game and she had to call my dad (who drives trucks at night) to update him on the 9th inning in a minute.  I said I’d call instead and so I did.  In those last few minutes of the game on my way home from school, on the phone with my dad, the game was tight but one routine play and one amazing catch gave him two of the three outs he needed.

For the third, a slow groundball headed towards first base.  Cabrerra, the first baseman, went for the ball and Galarraga covered first base.  The throw appeared to be in time for everyone in the stands and at home watching the television.  But, unfortunately, the first base umpire thought differently and called the guy safe, effectively ruining Galarraga’s bid for baseball immortality–a perfect game.

But what amazed me when I watched the after shows was the smile on Galarraga’s face.  Sure he was probably pissed as hell that the call caused him a perfect game.  (In fact, the umpire has since admitted that he blew the call.)  But instead of badmouthing the ump or cursing the gods, he simply was gracious that he had the chance to get that close.  And if that isn’t a lesson we could all learn, I don’t know what is.

This is why I love baseball.  I love baseball because there’s always hope.  I love baseball because there’s no other game that captures the attention of a nation so magically.  But I love baseball the most because so many of life’s lessons can be learned while playing or watching the game.  It truly is the one constant that keeps us glued to our seats and cheering in the stands.  It encapsulates everything about us that is right–and sometimes what is wrong.

It keeps us honest and striving for something more.  And I think I’ve learned two important lessons from it this week alone.

10 comments for “There’s always been baseball

  1. Nora_L
    June 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Love the Field of Dreams quote.

    How adorable is the kid who wanted to help the other kid get a ball? =)

    Thanks for the reminder to be gracious for what we've got. It's sad but I needed that reminder this week.

  2. June 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I like baseball because of the pace – you can relax and really enjoy yourself watching a game. Sadly, Achilles is not a baseball fan, and neither are most of my friends. Yet another reason we need to meet in person, Kim!

  3. June 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    WOW. I just looked up that call. PROBABLY one of the worst calls I've ever seen in baseball. Galarraga was ROBBED.

  4. June 3, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I like baseball too, because I can actually follow a game. Even though I don't really follow the sport itself, I can watch a game and understand what's going on.

    And damn it if this post did not made me all teary-eyed. I don't know why, but I am a total sucker for all things baseball. Angels in the Outfeild & League of Their Own are two of my favorite movies and make me cry everytime without fail.

  5. June 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    that was, without a doubt, the worst blown call i have seen in my nearly 29 years of fandom. good LORD. and i would love to be one-eighth the person galarraga is, not only for the poise he showed, but for the fact that at least half the news stories i saw on this today called him “andres” galarraga.

  6. June 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    I really never understood the appeal of baseball…or golf…or really most sports. It just seems a little boring. Although I'm thinking that if I took some knitting to work on it wouldn't be so bad…

    I do however love inspirational sports movies!

  7. Ms TC
    June 3, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I also loved the interviews Galarraga gave. What a class act.

  8. June 4, 2010 at 7:35 am

    What a great great great post! I saw all the news about the game that was perfect but wasn't called right, and the umpire cried and feels terrible, and the player said he was ok with everything and that the umpire's eyes “were wet.” It was very touching. And so is your story about the two little boys. I loved the way you wrote about it.

    I'll follow the Detroit Tigers with more interest now.

    Field of Dreams is one of the best movies ever made……and now I'm not sure I have it in my movie favorites under my profile!

  9. June 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    that is really cool when an athlete can be an adult about how a game goes or a call a ref/ump makes. those are the athletes i can respect and in turn, the sports i can respect. you get enough goons on the field, on the ice, on the court, wherever, and i can't watch the sport anymore. i lose respect for the sport itself, for those on top who don't keep their players in check. i think it's the job of those in charge to make sure that their players are being adults, are living the sort of lifestyle that those in charge want represented in their club. the clubs who let their players do whatever deserve no respect i think.

    case in point: red wings and the respect i have for them. a good, solid, mature club and i like them.

    anyway… i'm getting rambly, so i'll stop. :)

  10. June 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    My bf told my about that almost perfect game. It's a crazy story, but if it had to happen, those two handled it the best way possible.

Don't just sit there...say something.

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