Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Love & Baseball Part Three

Eventually, enough time passed and the sting wasn't as raw. My heart was semi-pieced together and I was back to the frat parties and flirting with new friends of old dormmates. Toward the end of the year, my phone rang. "Hello?" I answered.

Jon said quietly "can I come up?"

And this should be the part where music would swell. We would come together, tears in our eyes and he would confess that I had been the one all along. Peter Gabriel would be singing in the background "In your eyes, the light the heat, in your eyes I am complete, in your eyes ..." And Jon and I would live happily ever after.

But this is SOMETIMES Serendipitous Girl, remember?! This moment was not meant to be for us. Jon came to tell me that he was leaving San Diego. He had enough of the baseball coach and being away from his friends and family. He missed Colorado and couldn't wait to get home. But he didn't want to leave things on a bad note with me. We hadn't talked since the beginning of the school year.

It meant a lot that he came up to face me, but too much time had gone by. New found trust was damaged and to be honest, Colorado was too big of a gap to bridge. I knew my heart couldn't take it. We talked a few times after he left, but eventually lost touch. Potential and promise mean something, but unfortunately they don't always mean everything.

And so, we come to baseball. You can't truly love baseball without truly knowing heartbreak. And if there was one thing I learned from Jon, it was heartbreak. Baseball refreshed my memory. The game will tear your heart out. I never understood how much until October 1, 2007.

Potential, promise, the Padres had it. They also had the playoffs in sight, they just needed to get through one more game against the Rockies. Peavy, the staff ace opened the game. There is no one else you'd want on the mound. He lead the league in ERA and wins. He was the guy. He went 6 1/3 innings. It didn't look good at first. Colorado scored 3 runs in the first two innings. But San Diego came back and answered with 4. The game went back and forth for the rest of the night. Colorado homered making the score 4-4. San Diego added a run. Colorado caught up in the 5th and went ahead in the 6th making the score 5 -6. San Diego scored in the 8th finally tying the game. The game would go to 13 innings.

At the top of the 13th inning, San Diego would score two additional runs before making their final out. It looked promising, we were ahead 8 - 6. The all time saves leader in the history of baseball, Trevor Hoffman, would just need to make three more outs. Had the team been in San Diego, the bells would ring--loud and slow at first, the crowd would go wild before ACDC's guitar solo would sound and pretty soon "Hell's Bells" would be blaring as Hoffman would begin his slow, focused run onto the field. But on October 1st, the team was in Colorado. The Rockies were a team that were on a mission, they won 22 games in the month of September. The team and their fans wouldn't give up without a fight. Trevor would struggle and Colorado proved too big of a match. The Rockies lead off with two doubles, a walk, a triple and then finally a sac fly to get the go ahead run.

I cried. There are reports that Trevor cried. San Diego was heartbroken. I understood, I had been there.

The next day when friends asked me about the game, the first words out of my mouth were "it's baseball." It was definitely disappointing, but it's baseball. I wouldn't have changed a pitcher or any call made by manager Bud Black. He put his best game out on the field but ultimately it's left to chance. Sometimes baseball, like life, goes your way, but sometimes it doesn't. And that's the painful, simple truth.

Jon and I would reconnect a few times over the years. There was always a glimmer of that initial magic, but it never materialized into anything more. The potential and promise have always been there, but ultimately it just didn't go our way. We never could go back to that original summer.

October 1st was the final game of the Padres 2007 season. Peavy opened up 2008 on Monday with a win against the Astros. He even knocked two runs in himself. Everyone, including the announcers, wanted the game to have a save situation so Trevor could come out. But like Jon and me, the team can't go back and fix October 1st. The Padres won Monday night's game. Trevor came out for a save last night. The Padres have begun the 2008 season 2-0.

It's time to move on.