As noted on Opening Day, my expectations for baseball were modest this year. In fact, I didn’t make it to a live game until just a week ago. But the baseball I’ve seen over the last seven days is a great reminder of why I love baseball, no matter what the wealthy owners and the sports industrial complex do to undermine our trust and loyalty.
First, it helps to kick off your season with great seats behind home plate (thanks Gus!) with a warm and generous friend. While in Boston last week, Ed Quattlebaum and I conspired to catch the Red Sox at Fenway. As in all things at this historic park, it was special.
Catching up with Ed on a cool spring evening; being carded to get a beer (hey, Massachusetts has Puritanical liquor laws); seeing the Sox and the Guardians up close; watching as a dinger sailed over the Green Monster … priceless! Ed and I had a wonderful time in spite of the Red Sox loss.
Then yesterday was the first game in my reduced six-game package for the Washington Nationals. For reasons mentioned elsewhere, our group took out a half-season plan for 2023. In response, the Nats shifted our seats a bit and, lo-and-behold, they are actually better. We’re now right behind home plate. Our new seats are literally two rows below the television camera at the press-box level that shows the full field action.
My backdoor neighbor Mark and I enjoyed a delicious Jammin’ Island BBQ platter with rice and beans and cole slaw, topped by a delicious IPA. Patrick Corbin — who hadn’t pitched well since the 2019 World Series — surprised us all and pitched a helluva seven innings, allowing only one hit to the Cubs until Davy left him in too long and he gave up two more hits (and was saddled with two runs) in the eighth. When the Cubs came back to tie it 3-3, our entire section could feel a letdown coming.
And then this happened!
Before the bottom of the ninth, Mark said, “Well, let’s just hit a dinger and get it over with.” The words were barely out of his mouth when Alex Call did just that, swinging at the first pitch and getting his first career walk-off home run.
Oh, and the whole thing took a brisk one hour and 55 minutes. Did you recall that I said I love the pitch clock? The baseball of my youth has returned!
The Nats have now won three of their last four series, and as Barry Svrluga wrote recently in the Post, the team is finally doing things right: Catch the ball, throw the ball: Nats finally following baseball’s truths.
Will miracles never cease?
This is why I love the game. Let’s play ball!
More to come…
All photos by DJB
Our friend Alan Gregerman responded to this post on LinkedIn where I added that we’d been in Boston to see Andrew perform in Alcina. Alan’s comment was:
“Fenway Park is fun but hearing Andrew sing is awesome!”
Another LinkedIn contact, Tom Martella, also wrote:
“Great read! Since my mid-1950s first visit to Fenway as a Worcester kid, have loved the place. Most recently, couple years back, visiting at a game above the wall as one of the K men. Unbelievable!”