Get me home from the ball game

It’s been a long day at the ball park.All-star baseball and softball is warming up just like the weather, and today marked my first-all star coverage of the summer.
Actually, it marked the second tournament I’ve worked, but last weekend’s was just a warmup tournament so I’m not really sure it counted.
I said all of that to say this.
I have the worst luck when it comes to games, especially tournaments.
It is widely said sportswriters pray for a quick game and a good story.
Sometimes I get the good story, but I hardly ever get the quick game.
Tonight was no exception.
When it’s all said and done, we’ll have covered more than a dozen all-star teams throughout the summer.
A pair of our teams has already won state titles, and I was covering one of them tonight.
The team I covered hasn’t been beaten throughout the regional tournament, which is being played in historic Eagle Stadium. The park was built in 1946, it’s been designated as an historic landmark and it harkens back to the kind of old-fashioned American ball park mostly seen only in movies nowadays.
When you step through the entrance gate, it’s almost like you’ve stepped back to a time when this country was recovering from the ravages of World War II and it found joy in simply enjoying America’s pastime.
The stands are positioned high behind home plate, painted red — though the color’s a little faded with time —  and stretch about a quarter of the way down the first and third base lines. There are no outfield bleachers.
The roof is tin and makes a tremendous noise when a foul ball crashes into it. The only thing between fans and those foul balls is a black net stretched across the stands. It’s see-through, and it’s connected to solid red beams which support the tin roof.
Each beam is also sporting a fan in order to cool down the patrons in the stands.
It’s classic, and it’s a great place to watch a baseball game.
Therein lies today’s problem, kids.
I pulled up a chair just inside the entrance to Eagle Stadium and sat down beside the ticket takers at 5:30 p.m.
First pitch was set for 6 p.m., and I’d given myself just enough time to prepare a good place to take notes on the game. I’d timed it perfectly.
Or so I thought.
I was sitting in the newsroom earlier today at about 4:30 before I made the 45-minute drive to Eagle Stadium, and the bottom fell out of the sky.
The rain stopped in about 30 minutes, but when I arrived at the park I found it had also rained on the field.
Another game was scheduled before the one I was covering began. It had been delayed by rain, and it was in the fourth inning when I pulled up my chair.
Just my luck.
I spent the next hour bored, texting, scrolling through my Facebook news feed and checking out my Twitter timeline.
The first pitch finally breezed across the plate a little after 7 p.m., and it was all note taking from there.
The team won by three runs after a rally so the story was pretty good.
I went back to the truck to call the rest of our all-star coaches.
It was then I realized I had completely forgotten to use the bathroom so I scrapped the phone calls pretty quick and drove to the Waffle House for a post-game omelet.
I wrote the game summary on my phone while I sat in the corner booth, as I’ve done so many times before when games ended late.
I posted it to the paper’s website and finished my omelet, which had begun to get cold but still tasted as wonderful as a ham-and-cheese omelet from the Waffle House always does.
I drove home on a full stomach and when I hit the recliner a realized something I’d forgotten since last summer, but now remember all too well.
All-star sports is exhausting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s