Monday, April 15, 2013

Baseball in Boston

Just after the Red Sox game ended this afternoon, I wrote the following blog. As I was re-reading it in preparation to hit "Publish," I saw the horrible news of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. This light-hearted blog about my son's love of baseball felt totally misplaced so I saved it with a whole bunch of other unpublished posts. I figured that I'd never publish it. 

Since then, like so many others all over the world, I checked on my loved ones in Boston and I heard the amazing stories of strength and courage displayed by those at the scene of the blasts. People's cruelty never ceases to amaze me, but people's goodness always seems to amaze me more.  

Since the end of the Red Sox game, I also spent precious time with my family, I ran, and I wrote another piece about my feelings on today's tragedy. Like usual, writing was my therapy tonight and I don't know what I'd do without it.  

I'll probably publish that post at some point. But tonight, for some reason, I want to post the baseball one. 

I've sat here for a while trying to figure out why that is, wondering if somehow I'm being disrespectful of the victims by publishing this post and not the other one. In the end, I think this post may actually be the more appropriate one because it represents a significant part of today -- the pure innocence of people, especially young people, who truly love Boston and all that it stands for. 

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A few weeks ago, Teddy got his uniform for his town t-ball team -- a pair of grey baseball pants, red socks that are so big they pretty much reach his little butt, and a red Angels shirt with "Read Custom Soils" and #9 on the back. He's taken the #9 shirt off a few times since then -- to take a bath. Yep, it's baseball season and Teddy is obsessed.

He starts his mornings by coming downstairs, turning on the Apple TV and clicking over to the MLB Highlights button. He proceeds to watch the highlight reels of each of the prior day's games, mostly concerned with the outcome of the Red Sox and the Angels games. Since the Angels apparently stink lately, he chooses to repeat the highlights of the few games that they've won. I think he knows the clips by heart.

When the highlights are over, he usually finds his glove and starts tossing a tennis ball into it. Last week, he wanted a little more excitement, and while I was running out the door to catch my train, he asked me what he could throw the ball against. There weren't many options so I told him he could throw the ball off the door to the garage after I left. As I got into my car, I smiled at the sound of the tennis ball bouncing against the door. 

Yesterday, Teddy and Brian went to the Red Sox game. Teddy had been so looking forward to the game (and the train ride) and he had been studying the Red Sox line-up in preparation. Brian said he was great, until the 6th inning (in the middle of a potential no-hitter) when Teddy decided that he "wanted to do something fun." Seriously? It turns out what he meant was that he had had enough of watching baseball. Now he wanted to play. I totally get that. On the train ride home, Clay Bucholtz gave up a hit and when I texted that to Brian, he felt much better about having to leave early. 

When they got home, Teddy and Brian played over an hour of baseball outside. This morning, Teddy got his Papa to play another few hours with him. From inside, I repeatedly heard the sound of the ball hitting the side of the house or the roof. I'll give it to him -- he can hit the ball even as Paul has started to turn up the heat on his pitches. It also totally cracks me up that Teddy likes to chew his gum while he plays, and that he has a little batter's box routine that he's developing. It's the small things, I guess.  

Today, when Teddy finally came inside, the Red Sox game was on so we sat down on the sofa to watch together. Despite that I had had the game on in the background for a while, flipping between it and the Boston Marathon, I hadn't noticed until Teddy pointed it out that all of the players were wearing number 42. He asked me why that was and so we ended up talking about Jackie Robinson for a bit. I told him about how brave Jackie Robinson was to play even when people were mean to him. Teddy got really concerned about that and I worried that I had told him too much. So we just talked about how great it was that everyone was wearing #42 to honor this great person. 

We sat in silence for a few minutes and then Teddy said, "He's like Scott Herr." My heart melted and I told Teddy he was exactly right. At the time, I was so taken aback, and so curious as to exactly why Teddy had drawn the connection, that I didn't think of anything else to say to him. If I could go back, I'd tell him that Scott Herr and Jackie Robinson were very similar in some ways; for instance, they both loved baseball and they both were such good people that they will always be remembered. 

The Red Sox pulled off a great win in the bottom of the 9th and we cheered and high-fived while Teddy reminded me that Mike Napoli had a big hit the day before, too. Sounded good to me. And I'm glad I now know who Mike Napoli is.

If only his world could always remain this simple...
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I love you, Boston, and I pray for everyone affected by today's despicable acts. 

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