just a story

In early May of last year, we took our then-three month old son to his first ballgame, a night game between the Twins and the Sox. And he slept most of the time, of course, either in my arms or in Mom’s little carrier.

But when he wasn’t sleeping, he was probably screaming. It was a surreal experience; if I’m at a game and I’m not keeping score, I’m still giving it at least 90% of my attention. With the boy there, though, about that much of my attention was taken up with trying to quiet him down, trying to get him to sleep, trying to keep him asleep, trying to keep his little legs and hands covered and out of the cold night air.

And it wasn’t much of a game anyway, for a Twins fan. The Sox jumped on Nick Blackburn early. The Twins were hitting the ball pretty hard off of Gavin Floyd, but everything was right at a defender somewhere. They got a run at some point–on a walk and a (questionable) error and a sacrifice fly–and they kept it close until the Sox opened it up to 6-1 in the 7th, but it just never felt like they were really in it (but maybe that was just, you know, the baby). We, and especially the boy, had had enough, and finally decided that if they didn’t score in the top of the 8th, we would head out. I never leave games early, but with a kid, you’ve just got to use your head once in a while. So when they failed to score again in the 8th, we got up and walked out.

We’d been told by a concession lady earlier in the game to visit the fan relations booth before we left, for special “baby’s first White Sox game” gifts for our son. So we did. And while he’s printing out the little certificate and whatnot, the fan relations guy looks at me and says:

“You’re not leavin’ now, are ya?”

Little sheepish grin and nod toward the kid. “Well, yeah…we–“

“You know what’s happening out there?” He’s kind of cocked his head and is squinting at me now, like maybe I’m a foreigner at my first ballgame or something.

So here I am thinking, yeah, I know, big win for the White Sox. Genius, I’m wearing a Twins hat and my son is decked out in Twins gear. Not really into it. And then he kind of gives me a come on figure it out I don’t want to say it look, and it slowly dawns on me.

Everything the Twins have hit (except that questionable error call in the 4th) has been right at somebody. Literally, everything.

There are no hits. This is a no-hitter through eight. I’ve been sitting here watching eight innings of a no-hitter in person (definitely a first for me), completely oblivious.

I don’t remember what I said to the guy. I’m sure I tried to laugh it off, but I was actually kind of mortified. I’m not trying to brag (and not at all convinced that this is something to brag about), but it’s a safe bet that I follow more baseball and know more about baseball than 99 or so out of every hundred people in the park that night, and yet suddenly I’m the one doofus who tries to walk out on history. As we hurried back in (behind home plate to stand behind the seats and look on for the last inning, ironically an infinitely better view than our own seats in the upper deck and down the line), it’s ridiculous, but I wanted some way to tell everyone I saw that I’m not actually like that, I would never do that, but you see I have this boy here and he’s cold and fussy, but I know what I’m doing here really I do.

Anyway, Mauer doubles with one out in the ninth, and Floyd leaves so Jenks can get some work in and sew up a 7-1 win. So I wouldn’t have missed history after all. But I certainly would’ve missed something.

Lar at wezen-ball wrote a nice piece the other day about the feeling of being part of a crowd that starts to sense that something special might happen. And it made me think of this. I have no doubt that the same buzz and excitement was all around me that night (though they had hit him pretty hard, and he’d walked three guys and given up a run, but I mean, all you have to do is look at the big ‘0’ on the stupid scoreboard). But I missed it completely, and I’m sure the 15 year old boy inside me smacked me square in the forehead for that. But, you know, parenthood can do amazing things to a person.

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