Game one of the 2015 World Series is in the books, and I'm kicking myself for falling asleep after the Royals tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the 6th. While I slept another eight pressure packed innings were played, complete with a game tying home run by Alex Gordon in the bottom of the eighth, a Buckneresk error by first baseman Eric Hosmer, stellar relief pitching, and then Hosmer gaining redemption by ending the game with a sacrifice fly to give the win to the Royals in the bottom of the 14th. Holy Crap.
And, if all that wasn't enough, I learn that after his 6 innings of work, Royals starter, Edison Volquez, having gone to the clubhouse to watch the game on TV, is informed by his wife that his Dad had passed away earlier in the day. He sent his teammates a group text to congratulate them on their amazing comeback victory and to tell them about the loss of his father. Volquez became the third Royal to lose a parent this season.
I know that the quickest way to lose readers of this blog is to write about sports in general and baseball in particular. In The America of the 21st century, baseball has lost a lot on it's fastball. To many it seems slow and old. When a game goes extra innings and lasts over five hours, the long knives come out for the baseball haters out there. But for me, this the most "team" of all team sports, which features a series of one on one match-ups, still captivates. Despite my shameful decision to get some sleep before a long day coming up, it was the very first thing I looked up at 6 am this morning. Who won the game?? When I read the news, I vowed to watch every game through to it's conclusion the rest of the series, even though I have no rooting interest one way or the other. I suppose, if pressed, I would prefer that the Royals win, since, well...New York. But for me and a rapidly declining legion of people like me, what matters is...baseball. It's the series, it matters not who the teams are. It's a best of seven match-up between the American and National League champions, slugging it out after a 162 game season, the lightening round sprint to the finish of a grinding marathon. I will not miss another inning.
When I discover that a new acquaintance is a baseball fan, it covers a whole host of sins. I can overlook a person's communist affiliations, their strident atheism, even their vegan eating habits once I learn that they are passionate about the game. We then become friends, no other questions asked. What unites us is just greater than what divides us...at least while the game is on. And that's a start, right?
Long live baseball.