Monday, March 3, 2008

Big Leauge - Part 5

I don't know about you all, but I'm looking forward to opening day!

If you're just tuning in, be sure to go back to part one and enjoy it from the begining.

Part 5

The fourth and fifth innings proved to be more profitable in the runs column for the Rockies than the home team or crowd cared to see. The visitors had managed to score four unanswered runs during that amount of time and the once optimistic young boy was now starting to sit a little lower in his seat.

Gail had an idea. Nudging Eric, she said, “How about you and I see if they have any hot dogs to eat around here?”

Shrugging his shoulders, he lethargically answered, “I guess.”

“Come on sweetie, there’s still plenty of time left in the game. It’s not over yet,” she encouraged.

“We’re going to go get some dogs,” she told her husband, “should we bring back one for you?”

Raising his eyebrows and holding up two fingers, Roger indicated that’s how many he would like.

By the time Gail and Eric made it back to their seats the Rockies had taken the field again and the Giants had a runner on first with the count at three and one and nobody out. Everybody in the park knew the batter would be taking the next pitch all the way, or at least they thought that’s what would happen.

After a glance to first, the Rockies pitcher squared to the plate and released his best change-up. As the ball left his fingers, the runner on first took off for second. Sixty feet, six inches later, as the ball made it to home plate, it was met with a SMACK of the bat. It shot over the first baseman’s head on its way into right field. The ball bounced just inside of the foul line and continued to roll all the way into the corner. By the time the right fielder picked up the ball the lead runner was approaching third and was being waved home. The right fielder, who had a rocket for an arm, threw a laser towards home, but it was slightly off line, allowing the runner to slide safely across home plate.

At the end of the play, the Giants had a guy on second and one run had scored. It was a beautifully executed hit and run that had the fans on their feet once again. The excitement of this play and the mustard laden hot dog that he was enjoying had brought Eric back into good spirits as well.

While the Whitakers enjoyed their ‘gourmet’ meal, the Giants were able to extend the rally and add an additional two runs to their total. These runs, along with the one earlier in the inning, brought the game to a tie at four apiece.

The top of the seventh would see the tail end of the Rockies line up, and as the Giants and their fans had hoped for, they went down in order.

“Do you know what time it is?” Roger asked his son.

“What?” Eric said.

His dad continued, “It’s time for the seventh inning stretch.”

“What’s that?” asked the boy.

Gail chimed in, “Remember the song your dad kept singing in the car this morning?”

“The Cracker-Jack one?”

Smiling, Gail continued, “That’s the one! Now’s the time of the game when the whole stadium gets to sing it.”

While she was finishing her explanation, the other spectators around them were getting up in anticipation of the coming song. The next thing everyone heard was organ music signaling the beginning of ”Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. From the numerous times his dad had crooned the lyrics on the drive to the park, Eric was able to easily follow along as they sung this mid game classic.

It was a toss up for Eric whether he enjoyed singing the song more, or watching his parents act like kids again as they joined in with him and the others. Either way, a good time was had by all, and then a few minutes later the fans settled back into their seats getting ready for the bottom of the seventh.

The first two players went down without a fight, which meant number twenty-five was coming to the plate with two outs. His chances of seeing some pitches in the strike zone with two down were much better this time around.

Sure enough, the first pitch was a fastball to the inside of the plate. The left-hander took a cut at it, but his swing was a millisecond to late and the ball scooted past landing in the catchers’ glove.

“Stee-riiiiike!” yelled the umpire.

A collective groan resounded throughout the stadium as the slugger dug in for another attempt.

The next two pitches went by without so much as a flinch from him bringing the count to two and one. The fans were beginning to suspect he might be walked yet again, but the following pitch came across fat and right down the center of the plate. It must have looked like the size of a beach ball to him, and as soon as he made contact with the white leather sphere, everyone in the park knew this one was headed for McCovey Cove.

A few seconds later it was confirmed as the ball sailed over the right field fence and splashed into the bay just as so many of his had done in the past.

Eric went ballistic. More than anything else, this is what he had hoped to see. He was cheering and dancing and exchanging high fives with his mom and dad and anybody else that offered up a hand.

“Did you see that dad? That was so cool! Holy cow, he creamed that one!”

His excitement spilled out from every pore of his body.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” he continued.

Eric was so busy in his revelry he completely missed the next batter who grounded out to end the inning.

The Giants were once again enjoying a one run lead with only two innings to go. If they could make it through six more outs without giving up another run, they would be able to put another one in the ‘W’ column.


to be continued


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Oh my this game is making me sweat a bit. The excitment, the closeness in scores. Yikes, I just hate that feeling. I'm glad that Take Me Out To The Ball Game was sang. It just had to be. Excellent Jeff, excellent. Awaiting the next installment. Have a great day. :)

Bond said...

This is just giving me chills...the details you remember...the enjoyment of your son visiting the majors for the first time...

This is incredible Jeff...thanks so much for sharing this special day with us all.

Jeff B said...

Sandee- Got to love a close game. Part 6 in in the works.

Bond- The game I'm writting about is purely fictitious. A few of the events of the day are from memories I had of my first game at Candlestick Park though.

I'm planing on taking my boys to their first game this year up in Seattle. I'd rather it be a Giants game but Seattle is much closer than SF from here.

BTW, I haven't seen a game at at&t park yet, so if any of the details are a bit off that's the reason. The biggest question I have is, "Is the Giants dugout on the first base side?" I can't seem to find that fact anywhere.

Hope that doesn't take any of the shine off of the story for you, but I don't want to mislead anyone.

buffalodickdy said...

I never go to a ball game without singing that song.. Good memories once again given to us by you.. I played Little league, Connie Mack, freshman fast pitch softball, pumpkin ball, and high end slow pitch soft ball into my mid thirties! Quit when my kids were old enough to play- then coached kids a bit. I love the game- some of my happiest times were playing ball on a hot, dry summers' day...

Travis said...

I took a look at a slide show on looks like the home dugout is on the 3rd base side. You'd think that information would be on the club's website.

You're doing a great job with the suspense...which isn't easy to write for a baseball game.

Ron said...

This is just too COOL, Jeff!

I can actually HEAR all the sounds that you describe here and also the sounds that are a part of my own imagination!!!

Great storytelling, bud!

Hey...and I freaking LOVE the Cracker-Jack song!!!

Part 6 awaits....

Jeff B said...

Buffalo- I hear the boys of summer in your comment. I'll have to look up pumpkin ball. Never heard that term/name before.

Travis- Thanks for looking into my question. I was surprised too that their web site didn't have that somewhere.

Ron- I often tell people that I read in color when I find a good story. So I know what you mean about the sounds of the game coming through. Glad to have painted the audio tape for you.

Roger said...

Holy Cow! another home run Jeff loving this series!

buffalodickdy said...

It's slang for a huge softer softball used in some leagues before Dudley fast pitch softballs started being used for slo-pitch.. Could actually be caught with no glove- but you had to use two hands...

Matt-Man said...

Another great installment Jeffy-Boy. Mmmmmmm, few things better than gnawing on a hot dog at the ballpark. Cheers!!

Odat said...

Ok, I'm really into this now. I hope it's going to have a good ending...cause if it's not...I don't want to read it. All in all you're doing a fantastic job! I'm right there at the game...singing and cheering!

Kerri said...

Oh I do LOVE a good game!! Sorry I haven't "tuned" in lately....but I got to read all 5 installments at once...which was GREAT!

Your storytelling is Fantastic!

Jeff B said...

Roger- It's been a fun write.

Buffalo- Thanks for clarifying. We played a game called mush ball. sounds like the same thing by a different name.

Matt- For some reason dogs always taste better at the park. Maybe because it requires a second mortgage to pay for one we savor them more there.

Odat- I thought I heard you.

Kerry- No worries, nice to see you again.

Anna said...

Wow, Jeff, this is excellent story, and well described, so much details, never know may be one day I will become a baseball fan. Will be back....Anna :)

the teach said...

Great game, Jeff but I'm waiting...

I have an award for you at my blog: Work of the Poet

Jahooni said...

why can't i write like this? you have inspired me to journal my daughters season this year. thank you. ;)~

Jeff B said...

Anna- Great to see you again. Be careful once your hooked, you're a fan for life.

Teach- The wait is over, the conclusion is up. Thank you for the award. I shall give it proper recognition soon.

Jahooni- You might surprise yourself about the writting. Journaling your daughters season is a great idea. 1,5,10,?? years after the fact will bring back wonderful moments for both of you.

San said...

WOO-HOO! Right into the bay!

More peanuts! More crackerjacks!