I spent most of last week in San Francisco with Rob, his brother and their dad. Living a dream. They got to play a baseball game at AT&T Park (where the Giants play.) Full uniforms, umpires, everything. The only difference is that they were allowed to use aluminum bats or wood bats, if they wanted. But they were living a dream. I'm not sure about the rest of the guys on their team (various guys from the league here in LA), but they had full-blown grins on their faces the entire time. "Kid in the candy store?" you bet. And then some.
Rob said that if he got on base, no matter what, he was stealing. He was going to get dirty. After a dribbler single, he stole second. He stood up covered in Major League dirt, grinning and smiling, and not daring to wipe a bit off. After the game, he stuck some of his dirt in a little baggy to take home.
At moments, they seemed awestruck to be there, to be standing there, running there, throwing a ball there. Phil pitched and played Center, Dad caught and played Second, Rob caught and played Shortstop. They all laughed and played in the dugout, ran out on the field like the pros, and loved every minute of it.
Sometimes when I have a long day that ends at the ballpark, where Brooklyn loves to go and see Daddy play, I wonder why some of them bother. I see guys get so worked up over a bad call or a missed pitch, or a botched steal, screaming and yelling at eat other, at their teammates, the umpires and the other teams. Those days, the Bruce Springsteen song "Glory Days" plays on a track in my head, over and over. "I hope someday I don't sit around thinking about it, but I probably will." Those guys play each game like a Dodger scout is in the stands with a radar gun, ready to call them up to sign a deal. Those guys play like they are 18 instead of 38, they run the bases hell-bent on taking someone out. And I mock them.
But this wasn't like that. This was a chance to walk in the steps of the great ones, sit where they sit, hit where they hit. At times, in awe, and at times, marvelling at the fact that the field is exactly the same size as the one they play on every week - there are just more seats.
So they had fun. They lived a dream, they played in the big yard. Next time, it's my turn. I just have to figure out how to either get on the LA Sparks court or on the AVP tour. Just one game, I'd be happy.