Delay For Rain

I was planning on writing a brilliant article tonight, and I figured I’d have plenty of time to write it after taking my daughter to the Mets game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Well, the game started a half hour late due to an earlier rainstorm, and then just after the Mets took a 4-1 lead in the second inning I felt a drop of water on my arm, looked up and saw what looked like an ocean-size bucket of rain aiming for all our heads. Abby and I ran for cover, along with the rest of Shea Stadium, and waited out the delay before returning to our wet seats for a teetering, crazy game that ended in a classic Mets-style ninth inning come-from-behind (Endy Chavez got on base, Jose Reyes got a huge hit, Paul LoDuca advanced Reyes to third, and Wright knocked Reyes home for the game-winning RBI).

So, I’m now too exhausted to post anything literary, but here are a couple of cellphone photos. I have no idea why Abby is eating the bag of Cracker Jacks instead of the contents. And that’s the Cowbell Man, a local legend, in the last photo.

7 Responses

  1. rainstorms and suchi keep
    rainstorms and such

    i keep planning to write brilliant things and am sidetracked by rainstorms and similar occurrences for weeks now. nice to see i’m not the only one. and nice to see those faces!

  2. and that’s the way it is…in
    and that’s the way it is…

    in one small, sane corner of Americana tonight.

  3. go yankeesgo yankees….
    go yankees

    go yankees…. looks like you guys had a great time … awesome. By the way, Bonds record does not count.

  4. We did have a great time,
    We did have a great time, thanks. I agree about Barry Bonds, and I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about re: Yankees … haven’t heard of the team.

  5. mixed feelingsThe appeal of
    mixed feelings

    The appeal of baseball escapes me, though I’ve been a lifelong Giants fan. Saw them play once, at Fulton County and years later at Wrigley. I remember my little daughters yelled “hi Sammy” and Sosa looked up and gave them his unique salute. That was very nice of him to do, there in right field, between pitches. But I don’t get the appeal of the game. It’s been written about by Wodehouse and Kerouac. I wrote a chapter on it once – saw Nolan Ryan set a record for strikeouts in a game, against the pennant winning Red Sox – Yaz and Petrocelli and Dewey – went down like wet ducks. Even that wasn’t awesome. But I wasn’t a real good player – learned to switch-hit as a little kid, because my father idolized Mickey Mantle (who doesn’t)? But I never had more than half-assed coaches who didn’t coach much. Later on my friends and I would mess around at Angel games – it just didn’t hold our attention. Like run out to right and cheer for George Hendrick – a defensive replacement for the great Reggie Jackson then of the Oakland A’s. We thought it was funny that George only got to come in when the game was no longer meaningful. (Later he became a star with the Cardinals.) Anyway, here’s part of that chapter:

    “After work we go out to the baseball games now and then out in Anaheim Stadium, watching the Angels. And they’re no good. But even at that they got the greatest pitcher in the world, Nolan Ryan. And so awful to be trapped on a bum squad with more talent than any other pitcher ever and throws harder than anyone ever did before or since, and when he’s on the other guys just can’t get a hit. We watch him set the record for strike-outs in a game, nobody could make contact and just swishing at the air in idle frustration. Ryan winds and rears back and throws his whole body into every pitch just like gonna throw it right through everything and knock that catcher right over sometime and strikes out the great Red Sox batters one after the other, like the great Carl Yastremski three or four times in a row. And we was happy, seein’s how it’s some kind of little victory in the midst of losing all the time.

    Then this Red Sox fan gets sore at our catcalls and goofing around like we do. He turns back to us and starts yelling “yeah, so when’s the last time you won a pennant?” And that’s just like opening up the flood gates for some young punks and I’m all over him yelling “when’s the last time you won the Stanley Cup, huh? When’s the last time you won the pro bowler’s tour?” Stupid stuff like that, it all means nothing to nobody. But I guess he was a fan and wants to come out and see his team from Boston do good. Nolan Ryan and I spoiled it for him. But at least he gave us something to laugh at. Mostly the Angel games are dull enough to leave by the seventh inning or so, and that’s after a couple of innings of doing nothing but wadding up tin foil hot dog wrappers and throwin ’em around. Nobody seems to care, that’s just how Angel games are.

    Hard to believe you play ball as a little kid when you can hardly play and dreaming about the Major Leagues and how you gonna hit and run and slide and never be out. Then when you’re old enough to play with the big boys and find out you’re so far away from childhood dreams you can’t even see or imagine it and lock that lost memory up tight and away forever. I remember the old man teaching me to hit lefty, be a switch hitter like Mickey Mantle. And our stupid neighbor Mr. Maas, a dirty unshaven spittin example of poor white Georgia trash, catching for the old man and ribbing me.”Boy you swing like a nigger wash lady.”

    And my ears burning from the cut and the old familiar racial slur of putting somebody down to make you feel like there’s somebody so low that even you’re better than, even if you’re not. And his little clumsy fumbling son Jody who’s way taller’n me and couldn’t catch a ball if you tossed it to him underhanded.

    Then I’m seventeen playing Junior Legion and still wanting fully expecting to be something great, up there batting left handed ’cause I got a better stroke from that side, like pulling through on your backhand in tennis, just all smooth sweet and free, pulling across your body with all your weight into it.

    We’re losing and I got a couple a strikes on me and step out to focus and rub some dirt on my hands. It’s late in the game, late in the hot summer night, the coach yells from the dugout “quit fucking around and get back in there.” His inspiring encouragement leaves me numb and confused in front of all my teammates and the crowd in the bleachers and I just swing through the next pitch without really seeing it. But all the rules are gone from that point on and there’s no sportsmanship or team or anything left.

    We lose all the time. I’m in right, out in the football field grass that’s vast endless open space in this odd shaped ballpark. A guy slices one down the line that I’m sixty feet away from and it’s gonna roll and keep on rolling out into the nothingness to where the cars and pickups are parked with the old guys sitting there drinking beer. But I race over and cut it off and whirl and throw a bullet to second to catch the guy as he’s slidin in. But the second baseman muffs it and then it gets by him and the shortstop too who’s backing him up.

    The only decent play I made all year and feel like mentioning it to them guys from where I am out in right. “Catch the motherfucking ball idiot, the little round white thing, called a baseball. Supposed to go in your glove. Figure it out, dumbfuck!” I wonder what their moms think up there in the stands.

    Our pitcher Steve Muller throws hard and thinks he’s good and losing all the time gets under his skin. Our one good catcher broke his arm running into the first baseman on a pop up down the line back in a practice a game a couple of months ago with such a loud shattering crack of bone the whole field is just silent instantly aware of what happened. The new catcher’s a little guy who can’t catch. So every strikeout’s a past ball and the guy winds up on first and then steals second and third and comes on home on another past ball, just like third graders, like frickin little kids, I can’t believe it, it’s sickening. He’s a friend of mine and it still disgusts me as rotten as anything. Good teams put their best player behind the plate with the strongest arm.

    I get a walk off their pitcher who’s a friend of mine from another little town and his gorgeous little sister’s there in the stands rootin for me. There’re two out and the ball gets by the catcher and I take off for second. He reaches back and picks up the ball and calmly throws a blistering strike right on the bag and I’m out by ten feet. No use to even slide but I do anyway and feel the gentle tag on my back and me just lying there thinking of Kyle’s little sister and knowing you never make the third out trying to steal.

    The game isn’t close in the late innings and they got two men on and nobody out. Steve throws one low outside, looks like it caught the corner to me but the umpire calls ball three. The next one’s high and tight and hard and hits the kid in the mouth. And he goes down in a clump and doesn’t move except to hold his hand over the blood running out of his mouth. We stand around ’til the ambulance comes to take him away and I walk off the baseball field for good. It’s such a rotten lowdown thing to do. Knock some poor kid’s teeth out over a stupid little game you’re all pissed off about losing and showing everyone it aint your fault ’cause you’re tough enough and mean enough to win anyway you can. Fuck it, just fuck all of it. Childhood dreams.

    And now when the World Champion Oakland A’s are in town we go out and watch. The Angels lose no matter how well they play up to the level of their betters. Our junk-ball pitcher Wright’s got his good stuff going and they get a scratch hit here and there and a run or two over the course of the game. Vida Blue pitches for Oakland, without his best stuff and every other ball is hit deep, soaring sky high way out there a
    nd then caught at the wall. And they get a late run and win three to two. Usually it’s not that close and Oakland’s got an easy lead so in the seventh inning they take out the great Reggie Jackson and put George Hendrick in right field for defense and to rest Reggie. We all run out to right and cheer like mad for George like he’s the guy we waited all game to see. And he’s our favorite player ’cause all he gets to do is carry around the shoelaces of the great one. I suppose he’s embarrassed and thinks we’re stupid and probably right but somehow he reminds us of ourselves.

    The last game I see is a slow-moving dull paced affair that’s tied two to two for about forever, since the forth inning or so. Then our slick little shortstop makes an error and they go up by one. We’re used to that, finding a way a lose, whatever it takes. Somehow miraculously we get a run to tie it and it stays that way up through the eighth and ninth. For some reason we stay, I don’t know why, not like we don’t have to go to work tomorrow and gonna be tomorrow pretty soon. And not like it means anything since we got a lock on last place and nobody can take that away from us. Then in the bottom of the tenth big Don Baylor gets ahold of one and crushes the ball sending it high over the centerfield wall. From where I am you can see it hit on the pavement of the empty parking lot and bounce up high and then disappear into the dark. Yippee we won, so what. Even Angels don’t lose all the time.”

  6. beautiful photos!and Mets and
    beautiful photos!

    and Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks… that’s beisbol, no?

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