Last night was a perfect night for baseball. It had been hot during the day, but cooled as the sun touched down over the Coke sign as we arrived at Fenway Park. There was a sultry, warm-beer-and-humidity haze to the air, as is appropriate in July. A half moon went through shimmering colors as it rose just above the horizon and fell again. And I was in the bleacher seats, hands sticky with Cracker Jacks, watching the action unfold between attempts at the wave, the constant “I believe you’re in my seat” refrain, and Adventures With Beach Balls.
For 8 innings I thoroughly enjoyed myself, with my husband by my side keeping me company. Then, the 9th inning, a blown save, a bunch of errors, and a game suddenly tied at 10:30 at night. We stayed through the 10th, but as the night got later and the algorithm for getting home got worse, I had to weigh my conviction that Thou Shalt Not Leave A Game Until It Is Over with the reality that somewhere between 5:30 and 7 am, one or both my husband and I would need to get up to tend to small people. We left after the bottom of the 10th, missing nothing I wanted to watch.
For the record, small people opted for 5:30.
Watching the game was mostly awesome. I really enjoy baseball. I really like getting to watch it live. We even had a babysitter in the person of my brother. My text-message-baseball-buddy was accommodating in making sure I knew why ‘Tek wasn’t playing and that Buehrle was setting a record for consecutive batters retired.
It also made me wistful. When you add another child to your life, for sure, something has to go away. The difference between having one son and having two has pushed a lot of the things I enjoyed off the cliff – my fingers sore from clinging to them so hard. One of those was baseball. In 2003 or 2004, on your average day I could tell you what time the game was, against which team, where we were in the standings, who the starting pitcher was and what the starting lineup was likely to be. I’d be able to handicap our chances against that night’s opponents and I’d have a strong opinion on the most recent trade.
Right now I catch headlines on what’s going on: Diasuke is taking the mantle of team snob from Manny, ‘Tek is beaten up and blaming Beckett, Papelbon is no longer automatic, shortstop is a problem position … but I can’t tell you how the Rays are doing without looking it up. Some of the names in the lineup are unfamiliar. I’m not quite sure where we are in the standings.
I just haven’t had the time or attention to pay to something I have loved. There is a wistfulness that comes from briefly touching on an activity that once consumed you to a greater degree. It’s like going out for a friendly “how ya doing?” cup of coffee with an ex-boyfriend you once loved passionately.
I can hope that this is just a breather in a long and ardent baseball relationship. I can hope to use my wiles to convince one or more of my sons that they really really love baseball and that we should listen to it on the radio alla time. I can hope that this, and other beloved pasttimes pushed off the same cliff of need, will return to me renewed for their fallow time. But right now? I miss my hobbies.