It doesn’t get just a whole lot better than going to a ballgame with your kid, or your friends, or your kid and his friends.
The perfect green and the earthy brown and the blinding white.
The precision chalking of the batter’s box.
The smell of garlic and funnel cakes, delivering that calorie-less payoff if you can manage to be within 10 feet.
And you’re always within 10 feet.
Chuck Morgan’s voice and slash lines on the video board and 38,000-plus.
September’s lenient sun, and a sporadic breeze that rewards you even further, like a 5–4–3 double play off the bat of the other team’s MVP candidate in the ninth inning of a tie game . . . .
Yeah. About that.
There were too many fans in the building standing up to cheer on the game’s final out, drowning out those who were nervously hoping instead to stave it off, and minutes before that there were too many fans applauding Tim Timmons’s botched call on a 3–1 pitch that forced in a run, and minutes before that there was a second baseman who botched what should have been a 5–4–3 double play off the bat of the other team’s MVP candidate in the ninth inning of a tie game, after which the other guys scored two of their three runs, a day after the other guys had scored four of their five runs after the second baseman botched what should have been a 4–6–3 double play.
But — baseball and fathers & sons and 38,000-plus and garlic.
And a team you care a ton about, and tickets to the game.
It’s a game of failure.
For fans, that means learning to rebound from failure, to wash it off and to look ahead and to rebound.
For a second baseman, it also means figuring out how to adjust, and committing to that, so that failure is a springboard, and not a sentence.
He can look 70 feet to his right for a little inspiration on that.
The final 30 minutes of New York 3, Texas 1 felt a little too much like the late ’90s, with Andrew Cashner in the role of Darren Oliver and Rougned Odor as Kevin Elster and the bullpen looming large (though this is not at all a Mike Henneman situation) and too many fans in the building standing up to cheer on the game’s final out.
But in this one, Luis Severino was far more dominant than Jimmy Key, and truthfully, the fact that Texas led going into the eighth is borderline insane, with huge credit to Cashner for yet another standout effort as he charges toward a free agent market light on starting pitching. I’d love to see him back here in 2018, but if he’s not there’s going to be an extra premium draft pick in the Rangers’ pocket in June, because Cashner, taking advantage of this free agent year by throwing down a big, consistently productive season (unlike Jonathan Lucroy), is going to get a Qualifying Offer from Texas (one year and about $18 million), and turn it down.
It was a game that, all things considered, Texas shouldn’t have had as good a chance to win as it did.
But wins are critical right now — even if not as critical as Game 3 of a best-of-five — and that win was only slightly out of reach.
(Sorry if that makes you think again about a botched 5–4–3.)
It matters to us. Not the way it matters to Cashner or to Odor or to Timmons or to the advance scouts and hitting coaches the last few series who have clearly game-planned an opposite-field approach against Alex Claudio, to force hitters to sit on the change and react to 86 if necessary.
Or to Todd Frazier, who seemed almost as unappreciative of two late hit-by-pitches as Carlos Gomez has been the last couple months, and hopefully those aren’t the last couple months of Gomez’s season.
There are plenty of games that have padded the wrong side of 71–70 this year to groan about, that really stunk, and Saturday afternoon’s fits low on that list, if at all.
Maybe I’d feel different this morning if I wasn’t in the ballpark, experiencing the sounds and the smells and Andrew Cashner and the Rangers’ lone hit almost standing up and 80 degrees at first pitch, with my kid and his buddies.
Makes it a little easier to wash it off, to look ahead, to rebound.