The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Cheating on my Girlfriend– Day 3

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Nostalgia is an excellent accelerant if you’re trying to ignite your passions.

I’m thinking about 2006, when I first turned my affections to St. Louis. I was again fresh out of a relationship– one I had tried hard to sustain. We had dated for 11 months, but I had felt it slipping away for the final 3. I tried to get in front of the trouble to slow it down, but she was neither willing to talk to me nor showing interest in keeping the relationship. I never wanted to pull the plug, which made it all the more painful when I did. The hurt lingered for a year after and played a part in short-circuiting two other relationships that never got off the ground.

The playoffs that year were a salve for my wound. I turned my attention to St. Louis, who was largely overlooked after backing into the playoffs on the last day of the season with an 83-78 record. They held my attention after gutting out a few road wins to kick things off. From that point on, they were an excellent distraction to my heavy heart. Every time I watched them, they were playing letter-perfect baseball. It was a joy to witness, especially after most everyone had written them off.

*

St. Louis is going to have to gut out a road win if they hope to get out of the NLDS this year. At this point, they’ll have to stretch the series to Game 5 just to get the chance.

They played excellent baseball tonight behind Adam Wainwright (7 Ks and 1 earned run). The Cards once again ate the opposing pitcher (97 pitches through 6 innings) and kept rolling the lineup over. That’s eventually going to work with a patient, disciplined team. The top of the lineup is going to get more chances, and that’s going to translate to runs. Despite that baseball axiom, it was the bottom of the order that did the damage in the 7th inning. Mark DeRosa scored on a Colby Rasmus double to give the Cards a 2-1 lead. Wainwright pitched through the eighth, and it seemed that St. Louis was going to get a crucial road win.

But it’s a funny thing about playoff baseball: Moreso than in the regular season, teams make you pay for errors. Matt Holliday dropped the final out of the game, and LA scored two runs to win it. If Holliday catches it, then the series goes to at least Game 4 in St. Louis; a Game 5 would mean probably seeing Wainwright again, and the Cards would have a solid chance of advancing. Now everything is in doubt. The nostalgia-fueld reunion I so desperately wanted– needed– is about to slip away. What once was going to be a month-long affair now may be extinguished 3 days after it started.

All things considered, the Dodgers deserve some credit. They out-waited St. Louis, picking and choosing their spots to strike. The solo shot by Loney in the 4th was enough to keep them in the game. They made it to the 8th with only 27 at-bats, but remained patient at the plate and made St. Louis throw strikes. Manny Ramirez was a perfect example of this in the 7th inning. Despite being a non-factor in the series up to that point (1 for 7), he battled Wainwright through a 9-pitch at-bat (including 4 foul balls) before he struck out. While that’s not the textbook definition of a productive out, he couldn’t do any better at demonstrating what Joe Torre demands of his playoff teams: patience. Wainwright wasn’t the same after that, which caused some of St. Louis’ foundation to crumble. LA threatened in the 8th when they loaded the bases with two outs; by the time the bottom of the ninth rolled around, the momentum was on their side. All they had to do was be patient, even up to the last out. It paid off.

*

I was involved in something else in 2006 that sort of ran parallel to the playoffs. Beginning in October, I started writing a piece about learning how to hit a baseball. It was a quest to make up for what I had failed to do 20 years before when I ultimately quit my high school’s baseball team because I couldn’t hit. I gave myself a month to figure out as much as I could about hitting, and the process of learning became my story. A former student of mine, Matt, coached me and threw me several rounds of batting practice. On October 8, 2006, I was recovering from a back spasm I suffered early in my training and was ready to go to the park behind my condo to practice my swing using the tether I bought (the Big Stick is the model name of the Rawlings bat I was using):

My back feels good enough to work with the Hit-A-Way this afternoon. I don’t realize how much I missed swinging the Big Stick until I take some practice swings.

I adjust the Hit-A-Way to practice hitting inside pitches. Matt told me that to hit an inside pitch, I’d have to get my hands across my chest real fast, but despite my best efforts I club more tether than ball. I have more success reaching for outside pitches. Maybe that means my swing is slow.

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Written by seeker70

October 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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