Tuesday Ballgame with Thursday Post Script

There’s been a lot of rainouts, and the prediction was for more rain Tuesday. But at 5:30 I found myself in 70 degree weather with a slight breeze. Jack’s game was on. Shani and I sat on the top row of the bleachers so we could lean back against the metal bars. Alex joined the swarm of kids that collectively ran back and forth around and in front of the bleachers.

Dinner was a pretzel with lots of spicy mustard and a hot dog, salty inside a mushy bun. Perfect. This year it’s better than ever.

It’s become baseball. In six innings of play there were two walks. A routine ground ball is a routine out. The runner goes top speed and they still get him by a step. It’s an out every time, but every time its only by a step. That magic formula of time and distance has been reached.

Most innings no one scores, a few times no one even got on base. It is efficient, almost terse. Clean. Routine. A thing of overwhelming beauty to me.

Jack only got up twice. Each time he makes the walk from the dugout I can see his determination. He is looking inward as his 10-year-old brain is resolving to make this one count. As he draws up to the plate I feel like everyone in both bleachers gets quiet and leans in, coiled with hope that he’ll finally get a hit.

But this game is based on failure. The best hitters fail 70% of the time. The most powerful sluggers fail to hit a home run in 3 of 4 games.

Jack looked indecisive, but not his normal overwhelmed. He alternated between attempts to bunt and long, sweet swinging strikes. He struck out both times.

But I feel like he’s finding his center; he’s a pair of binoculars coming into focus. Soon it will snap. His bat will touch that ball and he will be on first base unable to stop smiling. And from there it will build. He recently scored his first goal in soccer after a year of being scared to go after the ball. Now he’s scoring practically every game and taking tons of shots.

On a side note, in the final inning a kid hit a high high pop fly into foul territory heading towards the far bleachers. Alex was standing with some kids, both hands in his pockets. WOOSH! That ball shot straight down and was inches from Alex’s head. It grazed his foot it was so close.

Alex didn’t flinch. Just gleefully snatched up the ball and sprinted for the snack shack to hand in the ball for a free fruit roll up.

We headed home – the game was played in 1 hour and 23 minutes. We turned onto our street and I heard bangs on the car roof so loud I thought acorns were dropping on us. Then it was raining holy hell. I pulled into the driveway, grabbed my bag, and hopped across to the front door. It was a joyous, loud rain thick with the summer smell of ozone. The boys followed, shrieking with joy as the leaped into the house and out of the downpour.

 

Thursday Post Script

Jack had batting practice tonight. I arrived at 7:30 to take him and a friend home. But they didn’t want to go home. None of the kids did. Instead they raced up from the cages to Field 1:

 

photo

It’s good baseball. Could watch it all damn day.

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