Sunday, May 24, 2009

One more sign of the Apocalypse:Yuniesky Betancourt at the plate 5/24/09

Sometimes I attempt to build up family events only to be later disappointed. Earlier today I lived in bloated anticipation for my eldest daughter's first Mariners game. She did pretty well--played on the Mariners playground, stood in line for an Ivar Dog (more on this later), picked up a bag of Cracker Jack, scared off by an order of garlic fries, scoped out Safeco Field with binoculars, took a trip to the bathroom, stood up an cheered for the final out--all this took about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Not bad for a first game. This will not be a normal trip for our family--at least not to any place more expensive than the bleachers.

This was a fun game today--a beautiful sunny day. All of the Mariner heroes performed well, Felix Hernandez, Ichiro!, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Adrian Beltre laid the foundation for the win with good pitching and hitting. In addition, some important role players stepped up. David Aardsma shut down the Giants in the ninth without really flinching, and Yuniesky Betancourt actually walked--twice. He laid down an ugly bunt that barely did the job. He did his job. A good Norwegian wouldn't applaud this work. I noticed in my time in the Midwest that some subcultures don't give affirmations for doing your job, and sparingly even if one executes with exceptional quality. But I'm glad for him, because Betancourt is not a good situational hitter and struggles to take a pitch, move the runners and do what is good for the team. Today, he performed. The debate I've heard on the radio and on my frequented Mariner blogs is whether Betancourt can actually change his behavior. A good question for humanity. Can we really change our behavior?

I always feel some satisfaction where preparation and strategy produces results. A little history, a little pride, a little relational joy and I let loose and scream for my favorite team. Friends, family and complete strangers giving each other high fives. I can't imagine giving a stranger a high five in church...but then again I'm not from the more charismatic persuasions where this kind of interaction is encouraged. Though I'm not sure what my daughter experienced on this day, she saw the best of what a baseball game has to offer.

Post Script

I will tell you the story about "The Ivar Dog" from a Seattle favorite Ivar's. My daughter asked for a hot dog for her game meal. I saw "Ivar Dog" on the menu and thought--ah, yes, I can get some clams, and with one stop shopping, get my daughter a hot dog as well. The server slung toward me fried clams and chips and a gourmet bun with something I didn't expect inside: a MOUND of cole slaw and two pieces of fish, laid out like a hot dog. It had some appeal, but, this meal wouldn't do. No way would my daughter eat this. She's the more adventurous eater of the two girls, but I knew this would not pass for lunch. I gritted my teeth and gave her the clams. She loved them. Only in Seattle would something be called an Ivar Dog and consist of fish. I was stupid and made a novice mistake. It was a tasty mistake, and we both ended up happy with our lunch. It was a good laugh for my family and added to the charm and blessings of the day.

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