I got up early this morning to look online at radar and satellite images, in an attempt, a frustrated and fruitless attempt as it turns out, to see if my son’s baseball team could squeeze in its game before the storm now pelting our house blew across the city.
He was already dressed in his #44 uniform, sitting at the breakfast table, playing with his food. He wanted badly to play. He looked at my eyes as they scanned my computer screen – both of us searching for any possibility of a positive sign. I looked up and smiled at him but we both knew better.
It was raining heavily without a break in sight as we left the house but we drove to the field anyway. We sat in the car, looking skyward for any break in the heavy drumming on the roof of our car – a patch of blue, a let-up in the rain, to no avail. Before long, a man came out to the parking lot to tell us, with cold finality, that the field was closed; there would be no games today. My son’s lips tightened and his eyes moved down to his shoes.
Baseball breaks another heart, which, face it, is something it’s good at, something it’s designed for.
The best baseball players, the very best, only make it on base about half the time. Just a few teams make the playoffs, much less play in the World Series. Errors are made in plain sight, exposing the offender in an embarrassing way other sports might spare players. Baseball’s most famous plays are as likely to be moments of tragedy as triumph. Some of the sport’s most famous and beloved teams are also its biggest losers.
Baseball is a sport designed for tears and heartache, and it relishes that role.
Today it happened to be the rain. Tomorrow, it’ll be something else again.