Updated: May 12, 2021
It’s been a crazy year. Yeah, I know, like I even needed to write that down, right? The uncertainty and departure from normalcy has been jarring at best, and more realistically, it’s been closer to downright uprooting. As a lifelong baseball fan (I played third base from when I was a seven-year-old until I graduated from high school), the game has always felt like a complementary blend of individual performance and team cooperation, sort of like life.
And even with the chaos of the past ten months, Major League Baseball has done their best to create some semblance of a season, in the safest way possible, even if it has been abbreviated. I couldn’t be happier, both because it provides a healthy distraction from all the other confusion happening around us, but also because my team, the Tampa Bay Rays, is in the World Series.
Even though they finished with the top record in the American League, they are underdogs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. And even though they ended up losing to their National League counterpart in six games, it’s moments like those that occurred in Game 4 that make me love this team, and this game.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Rays were down by one with runners on first and second base. Down to their final strike, they called upon an improbable hometown native to achieve the impossible against a revered closing pitcher. And he did. His base hit to right field scored the runner on second base, tying the game.
But what happened next inside the same play, although falling into the cliché category, was truly unbelievable. To watch the potential winning run round third base as the throw from right field headed toward the catcher at home plate, it was sure to be a close play. Until…the baserunner tumbled, falling halfway between third base and home. But then the next unbelievable part occurred, as the catcher dropped the ball, giving the Rays runner a chance to right himself, slide toward home plate, and win the game.
It reminds me that anything is possible, regardless of the circumstances. And more importantly, no matter what the eventual result or destination might be, we can find unbridled joy and delight in each individual moment. That’s a baseball diamond in the rough.
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