A Brush With Near Perfection Is Close Enough For Me
I love writing about and analyzing baseball. I love the numbers and the history and the predictions and the theories and the intellectual gymnastics writing sometimes makes me do. But the unfortunate side effect of that, at least for me, is a difficulty turning that off, which then leads to a degree of cynicism that I personally don’t find one of my better traits. Cynicism that, unfortunately, sometimes expands to my fellow fans and the inherent camaraderie of seeing a game live, especially a special one like a home opener.
That was my view yesterday just before the national anthem. I was a bit grumpy when I took this, after having been jostled by clueless bandwagoners trying to read all the bricks around the Willie Mays statue while I waited to meet up with my friend, dodging people to whom apparently walking is a new skill while circumnavigating the park to cure my cha-cha bowl craving, and listening to the progressively more obnoxious girl sitting in front of us drone on about how awful Brandon Belt is (and then proceed to pointedly refuse to even politely clap for Zito during the introductions).
I rolled my eyes, I made snide comments under my breath, and then something that I would call magical if it wasn’t so cheesy… wait, you know what, it was magical, okay? Under a just about perfect blue sky that wasn’t in any of the apocalyptic weather forecasts from Thursday night, Buster Posey smoked a ball to center field in his first at bat. That alone would have made it a pretty damn special day for me, but MATT CAIN, man. He was one dinky, nothing single to the opposing pitcher away from a perfect game. He pitched the second complete game shut out in the span of three games for the Giants. He righted the bizarro world we had been living in since that first game in Arizona, except he didn’t have to win by one run! And he made me shut up and just watch the game for awhile.
To paraphrase Joe Posnanski, part of what makes games like yesterday so special is that they’re what we spend our whole lives as baseball fans waiting for. The triumphant return of an injured favorite, a near-perfect performance from beloved stalwart, all touched with a nice reminder of the history before first pitch. So often baseball is part of the minutiae of our lives, the background music to day after spring and summer day, but sometimes we’re minded of just how remarkable it can be.