Monday, July 11, 2011

Puttin' on the Hits

"I just didn't want to hit a slow roller to third base and have it be replayed forever." -Derek Jeter, on hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit.

It's not often you get to witness history. I was fortunate enough to be there two years ago when the Yankees won their 27th World Series. I happened to be in the right place at the right time when someone had a free ticket to offer. (Click here to read about it.)

If you can't be there (and with the cost of taking your family to a ballgame these days who can?), then watching it on television is the next best thing.

This is the situation I found myself in as Derek Jeter sat two hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

He stood on the precipice of baseball immortality (only 27 other players in history have ever reached 3,000 hits). And I realized one thing: The peanut was monopolizing the only television in the house while watching a movie. "Meet the Robinsons," in fact.

My wife and I were lounging by the pool at my parents' house. I had checked my blackberry and saw that Jeter had singled in his first at bat. So I told my wife, "We're going to have to interrupt her when Jeter comes up again. He's one hit away."

"Then you'd better start laying the groundwork now," she wisely answered.

I opened the sliding glass door and entered the family room with a pit of dread bubbling in my stomach. The same feeling I might get when I was a boy and I knew I had misbehaved and my father was sitting right there in his recliner.

Only this time, I was dreading a confrontation with my 4 year-old daughter.

"Sweetie, in a few minutes I'm going to pause the movie so we can watch the Yankees for a little bit."

"But I don't want toooo," she whined, almost on the verge of tears. A morning in the pool had taken a lot out of her.
"Not right now. In a few minutes. And it'll be real quick. Then you can watch your movie again."

"Noooooo," she offered feebly.

I went back outside, hit refresh on my blackberry, and saw the Yankees were due up again. And Jeter was hitting second that inning.

I gave it a minute, went inside, and ripped off the proverbial Band-Aid.

"I'm going to put the Yankees game on now, sweetie. I want you to watch too because something big might happen here."

She protested, but there was no stopping me. And as Brett Gardner was called out just barely as he dove head first to beat out a ground ball to second, I entered Yankee fan mode. Hands cupped over my mouth and nose. Then clasping them on top of my head. Rocking back and forth as I stood in place.

No longer were the peanut's pleas relevant. We were watching this no matter what. I opened the sliding glass door and yelled to my wife, "Hon, Jeter's up." and she knew.

She came in. And we watched. As a family. The peanut on the couch. My wife sitting on the floor next to her. I standing behind them in hopeful anticipation.

He fouled off a few pitches. One he hit straight back, meaning he barely missed it. The count went full. "He's facing one of the best pitchers in the league here," I offered to my otherwise ambivalent audience of two. I was referring to Tampa's David Price.

#3,000 (image courtesy of yankeesdaily.com)
Then: the pitch. A curveball that didn't quite curve enough. Jeter, not a home run hitter, blasted it into the left centerfield seats for number 3,000. Awesome. Captain Clutch does it again. Only the second player ever to hit a home run on his 3,000th hit.
I yelled, "He hit a home run!" (Very original). "Woooooo! He did it!"

I was fighting back tears as I looked over at the peanut, only to see her holding her blanket in front of her face saying, "I'm NOT going to watch."


About five minutes later, after we watched the celebration and the excitement had worn off, I knelt down to my daughter.

I told her, "I'm glad we got to watch that together. Thank you for letting us watch. You don't know it now, but that was a big deal and you'll tell your children about it some day."

To which she answered, "Daddy, may you please put Meet the Robinsons back on now?"

5 comments:

  1. I hate the Yankees, but have to give Jeter props and respect for his accomplishments (and the way he got 3,000). Cool post by you on this. I am an avid Cubs fan and love baseball. A lot of people don't understand it - sounds like you do.

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  2. OK, I have to admit I'm not a huge baseball fan but that didn't make this post any less enjoyable to read. I can completely relate to having something I'm very passionate about just not getting the same kind of interest from my son as whatever he's watching at the time.

    I suspect that as your daughter grows up and gains the passion for the game that you have, she'll be quick to brag about the day she watched DJ hit his 3,000th (conveniently forgetting that she had her face covered)!

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  3. Why am I just getting Yankee hater/non-baseball fan comments? LOL.

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  4. This is great! I got chills reading this and I hate the Yankees. I can definitely relate though, I'm a Cardinals fan and the last two World Series they won I was holding my new babies, now ages 6 and 1. Great memories.

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    Replies
    1. Once again, Yankees haters are the only ones who comment on these posts... but they're always positive. Hahaha. I'm glad it gave you chills anyway. It's rare that I have the time or the patience to sit through an entire baseball game anymore. So that makes these these historic moments that much more special. Great job making sure the kids watched your team win it all. Good stuff.

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