Friday, March 19, 2010

Let's Play Two: Part 2

I've seen a lot of double headers at Simmons Field over the years.

I remember one years ago against Oklahoma when both games went into extra innings. That was a long day at the ballpark.

I remember calling Gumby's Pizza in the top of the 9th of the first game of another twin-bill, paying for the delivered pizza in the parking lot a bit later, and just walking into the old ballpark (pre-Taylor Stadium, pre-Event Staff) with the large pie and splitting it with my son, as well as sharing a leftover piece or two with a much younger Larry, while we waiting for the second 1st pitch.

The best double headers are on sunny Saturdays. I like to arrive an hour or more before game one and watch the teams practice while I wait for the first game to begin, and finally leave the ballpark 7 or 8 hours later, completely worn out and fully satisfied.

I've been looking forward to this Saturday for a long time, ever since I saw the double header with North Dakota on the schedule, waiting to see if it would be a great sunny day.

Turns out it's not going to be a great sunny day, and the double header was moved to today, which meant I arrived an hour late because of work.

But it was a pleasant late afternoon and evening. The crowd was uncharacteristically quiet for a Friday night crowd. I kept waiting for the rowdy students to arrive, but apparently a lot of them were elsewhere, watching that other NCAA Tournament.

Along about the bottom of the sixth inning of game two, time seemed to slow down. The pace of the game became a crawl. The air itself seemed unnaturally still.

I commented to my friend that when the predicted cold front finally arrived, the temperature would likely drop quickly. I called the local Time & Temperature number (573-449-0655) at 8:45. 61 degrees, pretty much what it had been for an hour or two.

Then a breeze came up. A cool breeze that that didn't wait long to grow into more of a cold wind. At least two-thirds of the remaining crowd stood up and left suddenly. Normally an exodus like that only takes place due to a sudden onset of rain, but there was no rain.

At 8:50 I called Time & Temperature again. 53 degrees.

Suddenly, the announced plan to make Game 2 only a seven-inning contest was sounding less sacreligious than it had earlier. The pace of the game seemed to pick up relative to the velocity of the winds, and quickly the contest was over.

This will be another double header to remember. The Tigers swept the Fighting Sioux, with a double portion of baseball joy.

I'm not going to be too surprised if Saturday's game is snowed out. But we'll wait and see.

Baseball is all about waiting. Waiting for the weather to change, for the worm to turn, for the hits to land where they ain't. Waiting for the young players to bust out, for the veteran players to move on. Waiting for the next season, the next game, the next inning, the next pitch.

My favorite baseball quote:
People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. ~Rogers Hornsby

Play ball.

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