Friday, August 30, 2013

Recovery..and Baseball

Happy anniversary to my lovely wife Marilyn, who for reasons known only to her has continued to  put up with me for 27 years as of today. You can read more about her tomorrow on my Saturday Shout Outs!
In the weeks following my July 17th surgery I was limited in the things I could do, and the opportunity was there for me to go completely stir crazy. I was supposed to stay off my of my foot and keep it elevated whenever possible. I was strapped to a portable IV pump that was giving me my antibiotics. I was often light-headed from the blood pressure medicine. Only a week after leaving the hospital, Marilyn took her annual trip to NC to visit family. Will was working at Chick-fil-A and making final preparations to start his college classes. The opportunity to be bored out of my mind was there. I was going to need to find ways to stay sane.

Fortunately, I have great family and friends. Will made sure to check on me, to walk the dog for me and to help with whatever I needed. Marilyn called every night. A number of old friends were in regular contact through text messages to make sure I was behaving myself and getting better. One very special friend (who asked not to be named here) suggested that I start putting ideas together for writing a novel, and I did that. It was a great distraction, and one that I intend to follow up on. But even with all of that, I had a lot of time to sit in front of the TV.  And the thing that really saved my sanity then and in the weeks since
"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona. Not all holes, or games, are created equal."  ~George Will

If you know me or have read this blog over the years, you know how much I love baseball. And the past 5 weeks or so I have found myself immersed in the game unlike anytime since my childhood. I have watched my beloved Rays fight to stay in contention for the playoffs, and pretty much every other game I can find as well. I watched the Little League World Series. I have watched the MLB Network so much that I am beginning to feel like I know all of the personalities on their shows. I have become involved in debates over old school baseball values verses new age baseball sabermetrics.  I at least partially understand what WAR (Wins Over Replacement) means, and have pretty much rejected the concept.  I think it was Tolstoy (Seinfeld reference) who said it best- "WAR...ugh...what is it good for...absolutely nothin!"  I am watching Miguel Cabrera  have the season of a lifetime...for the second year in a row.  I saw Ryan Dempster plunk A-Rod, and then watched as Alex took his revenge with a 450 foot home run.  And I have watched as Wil Myers, a rookie from my old stomping grounds of Archdale-Trinity, NC has taken Tampa Bay by storm with his bat and his swagger. It's been great fun. Baseball has been an amazing distraction during my recovery.  To quote the great Garrett Morris character from the earliest years of SNL... 
"Base-a-ball been berra berra good to me!"  ~Chico Esquela

The great baseball writer and current ESPN personality Tim Kurkjian once wrote that he understands why people think baseball is boring- because it is. It's slow paced compared to other sports. It can drag.  Baseball can be boring. Until it is not. And then it is amazing. Even after 150 years of plying the game, things happen EVERY NIGHT that have never happened before. Baseball gets inside me. It lights me up. I love this game!

So with the start of college football and the NFL most folks can go back to ignoring this grand sport. But for me, its place in my heart has been cemented by the part is has played and is playing in my recovery. So to all my friends out there, keep texting and tweeting and e-mailing me. I love the connections, and you have been so kind and supportive of my during this tough time.. But just know that while we are talking, I probably am watching baseball. And loving it...  Have a blessed day!


  1. Great post! Baseball is a big part of our family as well. The Mets disappoint more times than not, but at the end of the day - win or lose - I got to enjoy a game with the people I love most. People ask me a lot, "Why the Mets rather than the Yankees?" I tell them like my grandfather once told me - Yankee fans love a winner. Mets fans love baseball. The game and fandom runs so much deeper than Ws and Ls. When I see former players, I automatically tend to associate life events with the era or a particular year they played for my team! And baseball has definitely served as a nice outlet and distraction from some darker times in my life as well. I love football, hockey and hoops, but there's something about baseball. It speaks to the soul in a different way and serves as a reminder that life is a marathon and not a sprint! I need that reminder at times, much like Paul tells us to work out our salvation daily. As the Mets head into another meaningless September, I'm still wearing orange and blue proudly.....and watching. Oh, and I'm not much of a proponent of new stats myself!! :)

    1. Well said, my friend. And sticking with your team is important. Baseball tends to be cyclical. Unless you're the Cubs, there is always hope for next season. The Mets will be back.


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