For starters, I can’t believe I was only able to attend one Vipers game at the hallowed grounds of Foothills Stadium in August, and only two Vipers games overall this month. I don’t mind missing the odd game when I’ve got slowpitch softball scheduled, but who could have predicted how ridiculous the weather would be in the early part of the month?
Being at Foothills yesterday evening for a thrilling 10-7 win that had it all, and looking down the road to a getaway my wife and I have planned that conflicts with the Vipers’ first-round playoff series, I had to address from within the reality that this could have been my last taste of Vipers baseball in 2009.
I’m equal parts realist and romantic. As a realist, I acknowledge that a best-of-five playoff series in which you play the first two crucial games on the road is a crapshoot at best. As a romantic, I know I’ll be back in town with the biggest posse I can round up to make noice as the Vipers host games 3, 4, and 5 for the GBL Championship.
But yesterday, I had to address the realist; and in order to do this, I had to distract the romantic by buying myself a tonne of merchandise (including shirts that ended up being too small, because I’m not a skinny as I think I am).
The realist wanted to soak everything in. As the game was winding down, I focused on one aspect of the game, per pitch. For one pitch, I’d marvel at Jose Lima’s balance. For one pitch, I’d revel at Fehlandt Lentini’s control of the outfield via his positioning. For one pitch, I’d admire how unassuming Joe Sergent looks in the wind-up, moments before he paints the black edge of the plate. For one pitch, I’d let the atmosphere of the crowd rush over me as Mac Suzuki had yet another batter on the ropes. For one pitch, I’d be amazed with the positioning of the plate umpire, and the calmness he brought to the game. In performing the ultimate thankless job, the GBL umpires routinely hit home runs.
The romantic in me is confident I’ll be back at Foothills for the GBL Championship, but regardless of that, I’m glad I really surrounded myself in last night’s game. Only baseball presents opportunies like this to its appreciators, and that’s why baseball truly is the greatest game.