June 6, 2023
As I sit here looking lovingly at the Yahrzeit candle on the 12th marking of your death and the 80th anniversary of your ‘first wedding’, I want to remember together the excitement of the baseball game the Phillies won decisively last night.
The Phillies have been playing such lackluster baseball and I hadn’t gone to a winning game this year, so I was not totally looking forward to this one. But with good weather and good friends, somehow even the most disappointing games can be fun. With you sitting next to me, my angel in the 419 section, you know that this one was one of the really fun ones.
From the start, Aaron Nola’s sharp pitching kept the Detroit Tigers swinging for strike after strike. We even kept whispering that the Tigers hadn’t gotten one hit. (You don’t say it too loud so as not to jinx a possible no hitter) From the start, the Phillies bats hit the ball just in the right spots, for singles and doubles. Small ball, a term I have learned in 2010 and something that was sorely missing for a long time from 2013-2021. In this game, everyone had a turn. Trey Turner’s 2 home runs lit up the Liberty Bell sign. J.T Realmuto slammed the ball for a double and 2 RBIs and his sly steal to third gave us a jolt of glee. There were two close slides to home. Each inning a run adding up and adding up. 5 by the 5th inning
You asked me in 2010 after I reported so excitedly about my first game how I could suddenly became a baseball fan. I had an answer back then about how going to watch the Olympics taught me about being a sports fan. About the ballet of elegant catches and runners stealing bases, After last night, I can also say it is the need for the release of screaming at something other than the unending bad news, of cheering with excitement for something good and clean. Of being with so many strangers of all stripes and probably political persuasions who all want the same thing: To delight in a nice night out-and to hope for a win, damn it.
You told me a story about a game, some tickets you had or something like that, but I shake myself for not being able to remember it. I thought it was about the Pittsburgh Pirate Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run that won the 1961 World Series*. But I know you couldn’t have been at that game. So I called Eric, who told me what he remembered about listening to the radio at a friend’s house during that game and how people poured out onto the streets when they realized the Pirates had won. That wasn’t the story you told me, but it was good enough to talk with him about baseball memories, replay the Phillies game, and laugh on the phone for a bit about Dad shushing us in the car because he was listening to a game on the radio.
Last night we felt exhilaration of watching a group of guys having fun on an almost summer night. It wasn’t a no hitter after all, but a win nonetheless. 8-3.
Glad you were at the game with me.
Your baby daughter. Tobie
*Mazeroski homered off of New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry to end the Series, giving the Pirates a 10–9 win and their first championship since 1925. It is the only time that Game 7 has ended in a walk-off home run in World Series history.