Electricity Was In The Air

orioles dogpile

TheDiscipleMD

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 (From the archives)

I knew it would be a historic night for Major League Baseball. That’s why I asked my wife if she would go to the final game of the season in Baltimore. The Orioles are, and have been, perennial losers the past fifteen years. But the dreaded Boston Red Soxs were in town and their play-off status was riding on this game. As an avid Yankee fan, I hate Boston. So, I thought what a wonderful opportunity it would be to attend a game where the Soxs could be eliminated from making post season play. If you’re a baseball fan, you might know that Boston had a nine game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays going into September. Yet, going into last night, both teams were tied with only one game left. Boston, after having a September record of 7 wins and 18 loses, was on the verge of the biggest collapse in baseball history. In history! This is a league that has been playing for over a hundred years. So I was hoping that by attending the game last night I might be witness to something special. For my wife’s part, she was going along for the ride.

By the time we got out the door, gassed up,got something to eat and drove down to the park it was already in the middle of the first inning. The traffic was unusually heavy, which I found out later was due to all the Red Sox fans in attendance, who were hoping to celebrate a victory and possible play-off birth. So, I attempted to circumvent the traffic and ended up making it worse. Finally, after manuring around in traffic we got to the ballpark parking lot. But the one I normally park in was full. Very strange, I thought! As I drove about I checked the score of the Tampa Bay game and found out they were losing to the Yankees by a score of 5-0. Well, I thought, I hope the O’s can at least beat Boston and make them play Tampa in a one game play-off. We continued on in heavy traffic and flag men were directing us to a parking lot that was the furthest distance from the stadium. I looked up at the sky and it seemed very forbidding. Heavy rains were in the forecast. I had the game on the radio as we sat in the traffic. It was now the top of the second. I couldn’t see an end to the line of cars in front of me to park. I wanted to turn around and go home. But I endured. It took another thirty minutes to park, then another twenty minutes to walk to the stadium. By then it was already the fourth inning. No matter I thought, tonight, if only the O’s could win, I might see history. We were sitting in pretty good seats but they were exposed to the elements. And as I looked at the clouds overhead, it looked like they might open up at any minute. At least we had brought an umbrella. As the night went on I checked the scoreboard to see how Tampa Bay was doing. They were losing 7-0 going into the bottom of the eight inning. They were toast! Perhaps, I wouldn’t see history at all. It began to rain. My wife and I hunkered down under the umbrella. First it was a mist of rain then, all heck broke loose. The clouds opened up and it felt like an ocean was being unloaded on us. The game was stopped in the middle of the seventh. The dreaded Red Soxs were ahead 3-2. My wife and I retreated for shelter inside the stadium. Tarps were put on the field. It looked like it was going to rain for a long time. I looked at my wife and asked her what she wanted to do. Being a good sport, she said, “Whatever you want, Honey!”. I checked the score on my phone of the Tampa Bay/Yankee game and lo and behold the Rays had scored six runs in the bottom of the eight and were only losing 7-6 with one inning to go. I told her, “Let’s wait and see what happens in that game. If Tampa Bay wins, let’s stay”. She was OK with that. The showers kept coming. Thirty minutes went by, an hour. I checked the Rays/Yankee game and saw that the Rays had miraculously tied it up in the ninth. It was gong into extra innings. Now I was determined to stay.

Well, you might imagine what happened next! Another twenty minutes or so went by and the rains stopped. Most of the fans had left. Those that had stayed were primarily Red Sox fans. I mean, they had something to stay for. The Orioles, no matter what, were going to finish dead last in the division…as usual! But I was determined to stay! The game continued and was still 3-2, Boston, in the bottom of the ninth. The great closer of the Red Soxs, Papelbon, struck out the first two batters. It felt like I was in Boston’s Fenway Park, as the remaining crowd was cheering every strike. Two outs, no chance for the O’s. I looked up at the scoreboard, the Yankees and Rays were still tied and entering the 12th inning. Then, just like in the movie, The Natural, a bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. Electricity was in the air!

What happened next will go down in history! For a baseball fan, it couldn’t get any better! Papelbon gave up a double to Chris Davis! Who is Chris Davis? Then Nolan Reimold hit a double to tie the game. The crowd, what was left of it, fell eerily silent. Then Robert Andino came up and lined a shot into left field. At first I thought it was going to be caught but the left fielder couldn’t quit get to it. Reimold scored with the winning run. I couldn’t believe it! The Orioles players poured out onto the field and acted as if they had won the championship. The Red Sox players looked to be in shock. It was pandemonium! I got so excited I couldn’t help but yell for joy! It was almost a spiritual moment! Just then, the big scoreboard screen flashed up that the Tampa Ray Rays, who had been losing by a score of 7-0 in the eighth inning, had won in twelve innings by a score of 8-7. Three minutes had separated Boston’s loss with the Rays win. I indeed had seen history. I had witnessed the biggest collapse in Major League history.

I turned the TV off and looked over at my wife who was soundly sleeping in our bed. Ahh…..if only I hadn’t turned around because of the traffic. I mean, I was there, in the stadium parking lot, but….I just didn’t preserve! I just didn’t have the wherewith to go the final step. So I drove home and listened to the game on the radio. Once home, I turned on the television set and watched both games as they unfolded. My wife fell quickly to sleep! The only light in the room was the glow of the TV. It was still exciting to watch but I didn’t get to feel “the electricity in the air”.

Too often we miss out on experiencing life’s spiritual “electricity in the air” because the “traffic” is too heavy, the “weather” isn’t right, or we just don’t want to put forth the effort. Showing up at the stadium parking lot, then turning for home won’t give it to us. I found out, that night, that if you want to feel the “electricity in the air”, you have to be willing to stay outside and weather the storm.

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