Monday, June 11, 2012

HOW SWEEP IT IS!

PENMANSHIP NEVER WAS MY BEST SUBJECT; NOTE THE STAR
ON ZOBRIST'S FLYOUT IN THE 8TH: STANTON ROBBED HIM OF EXTRA BASES.
SHIELD'S WAS A SCOREKEEPER'S (AND RAYS FAN'S) DELIGHT
FOR THE FIRST FIVE INNINGS; HUGE K OF STANTON IN 6TH
WITH 2 ON AND FULL COUNT TO END THE THREAT.
Interrupting my six-card recap of my haul at last week's show to bring you this quick post on watching my first live game in person since 2001 on Sunday.

My wife and I went to the Rays-Marlins game at Marlins Park, and our Rays completed a Citrus Series three-game sweep. The only shit we got from Marlins fans came from their dogs: It was Bark at the Park Day, which added more than 400 canines to the announced crowd of 31,111. Actually, they were well-behaved. And so were their owners.

Our seats were to die for, about a 4-to-3 throw from first-base coach George Hendrick's spot on the field. The park truly is spectacular. The last game we saw was 11 years ago, an Orioles-Marlins tilt. Cal Ripken Jr. had announced he would retire at season's end and was honored beforehand. By that time, I had detached from the sport, but I wanted to see Junior one last time, even if it meant going to Baseball Purgatory Stadium, also known as Joe Robbie Stadium.


BIG GAME JAMES IN MINI-CARD FORM.
And for the first time in gosh knows when, I kept score throughout Sunday. No doubt I was rusty.  Thank the good Lord for Internet radio, smartphones and fat erasers. Anyone else out there keep score? Probably not many. Maybe they were selling scorecards somewhere in the park, but I'll be damned if I saw them, so I'm glad I downloaded one and brought it with me. I was half hoping a Marlins team official would've seen me furiously scribbling away and given me some swag for being a studious fan.

Keeping score keeps your head in the game. The new stadiums have plenty to distract you from the actual game, so fiddling with a scoresheet reaffirms you're there for action between the white lines. Besides, it's like digging up a time capsule if you find it 20 years later. One distraction I always love, besides barking dogs, is the ballpark multiple-choice trivia question, but Sunday's was a layup: Who was the only player to win the MVP Award in both leagues? (Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Robinson or Hank Aaron.) I could answer that while at the same time furrowing my brow and fretting over how to best mark "catcher's indifference'' on a steal attempt.


JOYCE'S JACK BEGAN A 3-RUN 4TH INNING.
So for those of you keeping score at home, I'm collecting 2012 cards, watching the game on TV, listening to it on the radio and now visited a yard. When I cut ties with something, I cut all ties; when I embrace something, I embrace wholeheartedly. Black or white. Never gray.

I hated the modern game for more than a decade, feeling jilted by the labor strife, performance-enhancing drugs and stupid changes to an already-perfect game. But it's really still the same game at its core. And I'm glad I've made peace and it's back in my life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment