Yesterday was a day of extremes, from the physical element of 110 degree weather to personal highs and lows. A day where the silly things colluded to wallop me in the face with an agonizing blow. I blame the bright red nail polish I spilled everywhere and then cleaned up for over 30 minutes while muttering feverishly to myself.
At the apex of my disgruntlement, the Dbacks game began. I watched the game listlessly, sipping the iced tea my always patient mother prepared, while still harboring ill feelings toward the world. As the game progressed I calmed down incrementally, listening to the banter of Daron and Gracie and enjoying Hudson’s solid pitching. Admittedly, when the Indians scored in the 3rd and again in the 5th, and we still weren’t on the board I was bordering on losing all faith in humanity.
The Dbacks tied the game at 2-2 after a RBI double by Hudson (the pitcher!) and a homerun from Johnson. Then, with two RBI singles in the 8th, from Johnson and Upton, the Dbacks took the lead at 4-2. Putz relieved Hudson in the 9th and, devastatingly, allowed a two-run homer from Santana.
The game was tied and I was not happy. It killed me that Hudson wouldn’t get the win after such a great outing. It seemed even worse with the fact that he had one of the RBIs. I tried to be an ever optimistic fan, but memories from last year’s bullpen woes began to creep into my mind.
Roberts led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk and stole second and third as Nady struck out swinging. Bloomquist flied out to right and I cringed. With two outs Pena swung and missed the first pitch and then sent the second pitch 370 feet to left field for a walk off homerun. I think Roberts’ explosive jump into the air on the base path when he saw Pena’s hit was gone echoed the feelings of every Dbacks fan as we watched our team win.
At some point during the post game show I realized every complaint and bitterness I had held close to my heart earlier in the day had melted away. Now jubilation, relief and pure, unadulterated joy coursed through my veins.
In his interview, Roberts said he was “Just happy for a win…we battled all game.”
I think that’s what it all comes down to, whether it be baseball (or other sports) or life. When the victories come, the battle is suddenly worthwhile. In the midst of the battle the purpose is known, but it isn’t realized. Our heads are down and we’re grinding away. With a win comes that sweet relief of knowing all the work, while imperfect, has formed something bigger and fulfilling.
If the Dbacks had lost this game their work would still have been important and formative, just difficult to deal with on a human level. Baseball fans know that success is failing 7 out of 10 times, and ruefully remind themselves of it when their team loses. The high failure rate just makes the victory that much sweeter.
So thank you, Dbacks, for immersing me in something bigger than my own petty issues. Thank you for the great start Hudson, and for helping yourself out with the RBI. Thank you for continuing to play your hearts out when the Indians tied it in the 9th with a homerun that punched us all in the gut. Thank you for striking Chisenhall out, Castillo. Thank you for having nerves of steel, Roberts. Thank you for the walk off, Wily Mo, I hope you stick around for a while.
Thanks for the win, Dbacks, here’s to a second half of the season even better than the first.