It was a bad night at the ball park last Saturday. My friends and I arrived with high hopes after the Giants beat the Dodgers 9 – 0 the night before. Could we take 2 out of 3? Maybe even sweep?? We were feeling pretty good.
Then the game started. Hudson just wasn’t on his game, and gave up 4 runs in the first inning. He didn’t do much better in the second, when he was replaced by the other Tim who was also having an off night. Another 4 runs scored. Fortunately there were no more Giants pitchers named ‘Tim’ who could go into the game. But it didn’t matter.
The fans groaned. The Dodgers racked up runs. There was some well-placed swearing. Jane, who sits to my left with her husband Lincoln, let out a yell at Pagan, one of her favorite players, to “wake the *bleep* up!” when he misjudged a ball that fell in front of him and led to a run. Fortunately we weren’t reported to the ‘text-foul-if-anyone-is-being-abusive’ number. Those around us agreed with Jane.
As LA scored more runs, we discussed the mercy rule and wondered if it would apply here. By the 4th inning, the score was 9 – 0 like the previous night, but in the other direction. When it hit 10, Lincoln and Jane packed up and departed to the Public House to drown their sorrows. Joan, who sits to my right, left soon after. I went for an ice cream to see if it would perk me up. It didn’t. My friend and I headed downstairs to seek comfort at the bar.
And there, a plot was hatched. What could we, as fans, do to help the team refocus and get back on track? We discussed doing an exorcism, but nobody knew exactly how. Other suggestions would probably give us a taste of jail cuisine, a far cry from the ballpark food we’re used to. Not a good option. What could we do?
Ah-ha! We decided to go back to our roots, to the reason we love baseball, to that feeling that ties us all together. Lincoln and Jane started a custom on the first Opening Day at Pac Bell (now AT&T) Park, and are now joined by many other fans: We read the Field of Dreams quote at high noon to get the season started right. So we decided that’s what we needed to do the next day.
We’d meet at 12:30, with enough time to get our positive energy out to the team. I sent an email to our section. Everyone told their friends. Before the official reading, we walked around the plaza and told everyone what we were going to do. We even welcomed the family of Dodger fans who were eating there.
Jane introduced our plan: “We’re going to read the quote, just like we do on Opening Day, to remind us of why we’re here, and why we love the game of baseball. Please join us.” Of course, the crowd of mostly Giants fans were hoping the game would go our way, and we read with gusto.
I assume that all true baseball fans have seen Field of Dreams, but if you’re one of the few who hasn’t, you need to. NOW! The quote we read reaffirms what the game is all about, not just what happens on the field, but what happens in the hearts of the fans and players. For me, baseball is the heart and soul of the American experience, uniting families, friends, and fans who become friends over the long season. That’s one reason for this blog.
Unfortunately, our efforts didn’t help that day. Marty Lurie often reminds us during the season that “there’s a lot of baseball left to play” but right now, we’re running out of time. With 10 games left, 3 against the Dodgers, almost anything can happen. Remember the year the Padres were on top and went into a 10-game losing tailspin? That’s not likely for the Dodgers this year, but it could happen.
It’s time to pull out your team-support kit, including your rally caps, and hope for the best. We owe it to the team, and to each other.