Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 25th, 2008 - As summer evenings go, this one was about perfect. The day had been hot and sticky but now that the sun had slipped into the Pacific Ocean for the night, the air was so comfortable that you didn't even think about adjusting clothing for "hot" or "cold". In his mystical magical way, Seth had once again come up with two free tickets to a ball game, and so Seth's dad (Lorinda's husband) was able to buy a couple of discount tickets to go with Seth's completely discounted tickets ... and Seth, Kent, DJ Najarro and Seth (and Kent's) mostly unwilling father, headed off to Petco Park in downtown San Diego to watch the Padres who had currently lost five games in a row, play the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kent and DJ set in one area of the park, and Seth and Seth's Dad (and Kent's dad too) set in another (much closer to the field) part of the park to watch a good old-fashioned American past-time called "baseball". The game was largely uneventful, and for some reason Seth's dad (and Kent's dad) felt compelled to motivate the Padre players with loud bursts of baseball jargon screamed directly down at the players as they manned their positions. Things like "Play with passion, you knucklehead!" "He's digging in ... dust him off!" "What a pathetic at-bat that was, whose team are you on, anyways?" And so forth. Occasionally, Seth's dad (and Layne's dad too) would glance sideways at Seth after a particular boisterous session of player motivation, and Seth would be looking up at his dad with much the same look that one might have if they came upon a two-headed cow standing on their dining room table at breakfast.

At one point, Seth and his Dad (Lorinda's husband) ran to the concession stand, and for the mere price of $7.55 were able to buy one bottle of Dasani bottled water and a soft-serve ice cream cone piled high with soft creamy chocolate ice cream. Together they sat in their seats racing the consumption of the delicious ice cream against the forces of the warm summer air ... and as natural events go, both Seth and his dad felt that this was probably as perfect a night as would ever be made available to the two of them in one setting.

At 9:00, the score was still tied at 2, and no amount of player motivation was seeming to prove worthy of an effort that would break the knotted score, and Seth's dad (and of course Kent's dad too) was itching to call it a night and head for home. Seth's dad gently implored Seth with the desire to pack it in and head for the car because it was a school night, and we did still have five blocks to hike to get back to the car. Seth wanted no part of it. He wanted to stay until the bitter end, even if the game went into extra innings. He pleaded with his words, and the pleading in his expression made his pleas a full-fledged pleading in stereo that Seth's dad (and of course, Layne's dad as well) could not overcome. At 9:15, with the bottom of the 9th in full swing, and the game surely appearing to head towards extra innings, Seth's dad tried again to persuade Seth that he could hear the final result of the game on the radio if they left right away... and again the argument was settled with the look and tone of a Labrador Retriever waiting to be let in on a snowy December night.

There were two outs, and a man on first. Jody Gerut stood batting left-handed at the plate. The first pitch had barely crossed the plate when Seth's dad got ready to stand and force Seth's hand and carry him from the ballpark. The second pitch was on its way to home plate, just a blur of off-white against the summer night air, when something magical happened that made every penny and every effort of the nights experience disappear. Jody swung quickly in a lightning arc of motion and the ball exploded into the summer air and flew deep into Petco park soaring over the right fielder, the right field wall, and the first section of fans who turned in amazement to watch it's landing. Seth's dad, now standing, turned and looked at Seth who had his O shaped mouth covered with his two little hands folded one on top of the other, and his eyes were as big as saucers and so full of joy that all Seth's dad could do was hug his son tightly to him and realize more strongly than ever, that it's just one little moment here and there that can make all the difference in your day. After all of Seth's dad's ranting and raving at the lackadaisical plays of the evening, Seth's dad realized that for a nine year old boy, it only takes one moment to make it a memory of a lifetime. Thanks Jody Gerut for topping off our perfect summer evening with the crack of your bat and your long quick stride around the basepaths on your way to home plate.

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