Tonight is why I love Major League Baseball. My eleven-year-old stepson, Carson, showed up to watch the game wearing an Albert Pujols shirt and a Philadelphia Phillies hat, which his brother, Linus, promptly stole (to wear backwards, natch). They are perched in their beanbag chairs, one red (for the Saint Louis Cardinals), the other navy blue (for the Kansas City Royals) transfixed as we flip from game to game. My husband, Kirk, is happy because his favorite player in baseball, the improbable Bruce Chen, is throwing his customary mid-eighties heat. I have my family around me. Life is just how I want it to be.
As I mentioned in a previous post, when I lived in Michigan, my grandfather often took me to Tiger Stadium. Though contributing to my mishmash of baseball loyalties, sitting with him in a mostly empty park watching a mostly inept Tiger squad cemented the inherent connection between baseball and the male members of my immediate family. It also prepared me to be a Royals fan, because I grew accustomed to losing without complaint. It was enough that I was there with someone I loved, watching the team I loved pitch and hit and catch, and there was at least the theoretical possibility that the Tigers would pull one off.
I don’t mean to leave the impression that our social lives consist of watching baseball games. Or, rather, just Major League Baseball games. We also watch fifth grade baseball games. This summer, the local league Carson played for assigned their teams the names of actual minor league teams. We ended up being the Lugnuts, named for the team out of Lansing, Michigan. Linus was L’il Lug. Kirk and Carson went so far as to order official Lugnuts hats…mainly because Carson insists on wearing flat brimmed caps and looking ridiculous…er, trendy. I was the wife of the head coach, yelling encouragement while taking pictures. My best friend, Mike Engel (you may know him from the Kings of Kauffman blog or on Twitter as @michaelengel), took over for me as statistician. After the games, we adults would pow wow in my back yard, dissecting the plays over Boulevard Wheats.
But elementary school baseball is over and, after tonight (the Royals/Twins game is currently in the seventh inning), Royals ball is over for the season, too. I’m trying to not think about it too hard. I’m sure my boys and I will find something to fill the long, empty hours.
Like the World Series.