Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Tragic Side of Baseball

The best view we had of the girls' favorite Cardinal: Fredbird.
I made it to my annual St. Louis Cardinal's home game last Wednesday with my dear husband, while my wonderful parents were so kind as to put our three little kids to bed. It was a perfectly St. Louis summer evening with the temperature dropping from a humid 97°F to the upper 80s over the course of the game. We actually did not spend very much on our second date this summer since we had free family sitting, paid $11.20 for our pair of tickets to wherever in the stadium, $11 parking, and $6.75 for nachos. If the stadium had decent beer we probably would have split one of those as well, but there does not seem to be anything resembling good beer at Busch Stadium (at least in the bleachers).

The game began in the worst way possible, from the point of view of the fans of the home team. Take a look for yourself:
Six runs in ten batters, and even the pitcher got an RBI single. Then to rub it in, the bad guys scored three more runs in the second inning.  Who was pitching, you ask? Adam Wainwright. Who seemed to anticipate his every pitch? The Cincinnati Reds. Who crushed him again yesterday? The Reds. 

As we sat in the bleachers, soaking in the heat, humidity, and disappointment at the start of the game, M mentioned something about the tragic nature of baseball. Yes, indeed, there is that tragic element of baseball. And as a Cardinal fan my whole life, the tragedy of failing in baseball has not been very prominent. This game reminded me again, that we can't always win, even the one home game for which I am in town. Maybe I should have expected it in a summer like this one. I have seen some pretty incredible wins in St. Louis, but this time I saw a crushing defeat. 

Baseball is a cruel, but beautiful game, played in the shape of a diamond. Every pitch, every play leads to tragedy for someone. Someone is always on the losing end of things. Though it is most tragic to see a great player or great team fall apart, and that is what we saw on Wednesday night. I think everyone in the ballpark sensed it. From that first single, there was a general feeling of dread, the dread of the awful. It reminded me of the 2000 NLCD, when Rick Ankiel fell apart and could never really pitch again. Wainwright's back to back losses make me wonder if he can overcome this. Maybe, just maybe, a statement like this is not the right attitude for him to have: "The best thing is to throw it away and just realize I’m a very good pitcher and I’ll be ready for the next start. (from stltoday.com)” Maybe there is something more serious than one bad night, but maybe it really is just two bad nights with no real explanation. Or maybe the Reds are not being entirely honest in their play.

I am glad I went to the game, even though not many others seemed to, as most of them left by the seventh inning. I enjoyed the halfhearted wave in the middle of the eighth, and the enthusiastic cheering when the Cardinals finally got to third with two outs in the ninth. The comebacks of the past few years came to mind, but they were not to be. The Cardinals and their fans were on the receiving end of baseball tragedy that night.



1 comment:

  1. You are hilarious. "Baseball is a cruel, but beautiful game, played in the shape of a diamond" ... now that's some prose! ;) I want another, whole blog post about it! :)

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