100 Why… Wait…?
It didn’t take me long to learn, it really wasn’t the game I enjoyed as much as the narrative, the story that was unfolding as we watched the game and each long season unfold over time all around us. Baseball, and it’s slow n’ intricately unwinding of a story, unlike the games played against the clock could, in theory, play on forever if the story so demanded. Kevin, my baseball buddy and I never once left a game before the last out was “in the books”, swing and a miss, a called third strike or a long lazy fly to the right field fence.
It was probably youthful indignation that had us mocking those “idiots”, the fools vacating their better seats while filing for the exits at the end of the 7th or in the middle of the 8th. Looking back, it’s with a little pity that I recall the things these people would have missed. The comeback obviously, but more so the littler moments. The “could this be the comeback” conversations, the playing out of scenarios, knowing that I indeed this one would be for the history books.
It was for those histories that ended up in the books that had Kevin at Wrigley Field one afternoon and into old Comisky Park later that evening when a late game vacancy found us sitting directly on top of the wall in left field for the final catch of the game; a ball we could have caught ourselves. We sat in the “same vacated seats” with less than a few hundred diehard souls in a “mistake” built for 80,000+ right above the dugout as our team lost in the bottom of the 11th after a two hour rain delay just before a gloriously wretched, late night four hour drive from Cleveland to Toronto. Later that same year, or maybe the next, perhaps ‘87 or ‘88 we sat in our very own seats, sharing a sad smoke with ol’ Georgie, him, a mere four hundred plus yards down the left field line on the dugout steps but, right there with us, a whole hour after the loosing end of one of the more beautiful season of baseball.
I saw my very last ever baseball game from the “short porch” as the Yankees lost the World Series on the very last pitch of the game. The very last games of World Series baseball ever played at the very old stadium.
Just who are these folks leaving a game in the middle of the eighth or yet well before the seventh inning stretch? They’ll tell you they want to beat the rush to the subway, get their car out of the lot, “this game’s so already over” they’ll say as they rush to to next unpleasant moment that’s left for them to endure that day. They’ll remind you of the important things they’ve scheduled themselves for the next anxiously awaited for day. Things to never get done and people, barely just seen. Empty unfinished business and moments missed while arranging a meeting in front of the person to which they’re about to say, “sorry, I’ve gotta go”.
Is there an touch of arrogance in definitely knowing how things will turn out? They’re good to go as who’d dare mount a comeback in their absence? I’ve been right all these times before, how on earth could anything not happen exactly as I’ve planned it to… in my unshakable understanding of the future; a future spent explaining how things went exactly as you knew they would rather than how you said they would last night.
Unlike baseball, it’s taken me a little bit longer to learn that absolutely nothing has unfolded exactly in way I thought it would. Many things have, thankfully unfolded much better many more unfolding in ways that, if predicted precisely, wouldn’t have been nowhere near as marvellous. Un-predictions, impatience and the ill begotten management of expectations has lead me down some of life’s better roads. “I always leave a little undone before leaving each night so that I know where to begin again the next morning”, might be one of the wisest things I’ve ever had told me. “Be happiest not knowing how that day will end” may be wiser yet. Knowing to “stay with the game” until the bitter or most beautiful unexpected ending might just be the wisest way of all. I mean, what’s a life if you can’t bare to wait even just a few more moments more for it to be… truly over? is where the stories go