Thursday, July 10, 2008

Why I love baseball

Joe Posnanski put it best when he said, "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring because, well, baseball is boring, But then, suddenly, it isn’t. And that’s why it’s so great."

Watching Louisville's Chris Dominguez hit three home runs in Hyannis' 6-4 victory over Falmouth last night, I understood what he meant. Dominguez had gone deep in the first and sixth innings (two absolute blasts) so when he stepped to the plate with one on in the bottom of the eighth, you could almost hear the crowd wondering, "Can he hit another one?"

Nah, it's impossible, they conclude. And then, in an instant, Dominguez turns on a first-pitch fastball. It doesn't look like he got all of it, but the wind is carrying out to left, and wait a minute...that ball has a chance! Fans jump out of their seats and teammates lean against the dugout railing to get a better look...and it's gone!

The crowd erupts and the players pile onto the field to congratulate Dominguez, who is practically sprinting around the bases. Even he can't believe it. In fact, on the way back to the dugout, he checks his bat to see if it was broken. It wasn't.

And that's why we love baseball. For those moments, those rare occasions when you turn your brother next to you and say, "Holy s****, did that really just happen?"

The buzz around the ballpark remained the rest of the night. After the game, families were still talking about it and probably had the same conversation again on the ride home and over next morning's breakfast.

I call it a "Remember when" game because 20 years from now, I'll be able to turn to my brother and say, "Remember when we saw Chris Dominguez hit three home runs in Hyannis?"

And he'll respond, "Man, that was crazy. I can't believe that last one got out."

And then we'll talk so fondly about that day, the way parents like to brag about their kids. By then, the rest of the game will be a blur. We'll have forgotten the score, the opposing team, probably even the year.

But, none of that matters because we'll always remember that moment when baseball was no longer boring.

UPDATE: You can check out my feature story on Dominguez for here.

Also, it's worth mentioning that Vanderbilt's Russell Brewer picked up his league-best 10th save in the Mets' victory. Brewer entered the game with the based loaded and nobody out in the top of the eighth and escaped without surrendering a run after getting the first hitter to line into a double-play and inducing the next batter to ground out.

"He’s one of the best kids I’ve ever coached," Mets coach Rick Robinson said to Brewer's father after the game. "And I told Coach Corbin that the other day too. In my 20 years of coaching, he’s right there with the best of those guys. You’ve got a lot to be proud of."

It's great to see the Dores not only having success, but representing themselves in typical Vanderbilt fashion.


Anonymous said...

C'mon Jarred. I get that the post is on CD's big day, but you don't mention that Russ picked up his 10th save in the game?

Tony Arnold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony Arnold said...

I call it a "Remember when" game because 20 years from now, I'll be able to turn to my brother and say, "Remember when . . .

This is what makes sports something more than just games. For VU fans, it is moments like midnight with a mist settling over a severely rain-delayed field, eerily quite; late inning, tied game, and hearing the faintest murmur from the cheap seats deep in right field -- "Black." And then a faint echo from the stands "Gold." Then joining in until it grows to a reverberating crescendo that is an affront to the spooky quiet it preempted; every fan with chills and the hair of our arms standing up.

The pain of actually losing that game has faded, but the memory still gives me a chill and makes the air on my arms perk up.

Jarred Amato said...

Haha, funny you say that because I was about to mention Russ' performance at the end of the post but had to run out for a bit. It'll be up there shortly.

Also, thanks for sharing that memory, Tony. I've got a bunch of those moments as a Commodore fan, as well, but I'm saving those for my final column as a senior...

Anonymous said...

Tony, if you're referring to the Michigan series, that definitely was a chilling moment - because it was spontaneous! Not forced down our throats by the cheerleaders in Memorial Gym. The players admitted they loved it at the Hawk... if only it had affected the overall outcome in a more positive way...

Tony Arnold said...

Paul, Michigan is the game I was referring to. The spontaneity was incredible. You touch on a great point here. We don't need so much false hype, gimmick videos and activities, and promotions going on during our games, especially in basketball. So many of those things that happen are ill-timed too killing fan response. We go on a big run and the opposing coach calls time-out, fans are going nuts, and what happens? The stupid tire race video comes on! Or the band and cheerleaders start a planned cheer rather than adjusting to the crowd. Or we introduce someone. Just kills me. Timing is everything.

For many of us, our passion for VU and for sports is enough. I don't need anything else. But then again, I am a crazy, energetic fan.