This time though was different. I could breathe. I wasn’t up in the oxygen-depleted rafters. In fact, I was behind the catcher, a few rows up. The picture’s from my phone camera. So a different perspective altogether from that to which I’m accustomed. It was pretty cool.
From this viewpoint I could see if there was too much dirt on home plate. I could hear the pop of the ball smacking the catcher’s mitt. And I swear I could feel the breeze kick up from an intensely thrown fastball. 95 plus miles per hour. Yikes.
Considering this degree of intimacy with home plate, it was easy to imagine stepping up to it …
“Playing right field, number 25, Garry-ry-ry-ry Stafford-ord-ord-ord.”
I look up at the scoreboard. I just had to look one more time: 2 outs, bottom of the ninth. I look out … all bases occupied.
I take a pitch. At least I thought I took a pitch. Did a ball just go past me?
… and then running away squealing like a little girl.
Okay. I know. Anticlimactic.
I’ve a close friend, John, whose son-in-law is a hitting coach for a MLB team. Because of that, John was talking with Alex Rodriguez at a social event recently. He shared with me that Alex talked about the fear he feels when stepping up to the plate again after getting nailed a couple of times by fastballs.
At this game it was in my face. Even from my protected seat that ball is a scary thing. I saw the courage it takes, close up. Real time. Real life. They step up, in, hug that plate, and swing away. They take that risk. They get nailed sometimes. Yet sometimes they get a hit. Even a home run.
As I sat at this game, I considered this for a while. No doubt baseball’s been used metaphorically before. Duh.
But I couldn’t help but wonder how many pitches I’ve missed? How many home runs I didn’t get? I thought about the times it was an obvious strike and I didn’t swing. And times where I ducked and stepped away from the plate? And then the times I’m most ashamed of when I didn’t even make it to the plate.
My kids, dog, and I need to move to a new house … soon. Hey! Where’s Garry. He’s supposed to be up to bat!
Finances have been a struggle. Strike one … strike two. Those coulda been homers….
I went through a divorce last year. <<HIT>> … ouch … dang! Walk.
Sometimes they’re curveballs; sometimes fast. Sometimes they hit you. You never know.
“Here we are folks, with 2 outs and bases loaded, up to bat, number 25….”