"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.
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)|
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?"