Monday, November 16, 2009
The Jorge Sosa Story (Part II)
So, now, here we are in (the old) Yankee Stadium. Finally. It took us long enough to get here, didn't it?
This is a place Bob discovered when he was a wee lad (which is how this kid born in Dayton, OH of Cleveland Indian fans came to worship the Yankees). Bob's father, shortly after Bob was born, took a job as an attorney for General Electric, which meant many moves for the family throughout Bob's childhood. They spent four years in Queens, when he happened to be just the age at which most boys discover baseball: 3-7, I think it was, and (no matter that they eventually moved to Cleveland), his team was the Yankees and would be forever more.
Thus, now that we are at Yankee Stadium, you have to understand that we are accompanied by a little boy. He is very excited. He wants to get there hours before the game. He wants to walk around the park, maybe be there for batting practice (because, you know, we might catch a ball. We do happen to have a bag full of balls, somewhere, that have been caught over the years).
Today, the Yankees are playing Tampa Bay. We have arrived suitably early. We've had our ritual walk through Monument Park. I've bought my Cracker Jacks. Later, I will have my hot dog and beer. Bob has dragged me down with all the real little boys to watch the Tampa Bay players "warm up" for the game.
I am surrounded by cute, hopeful young men on both sides. They've got their gloves on. Some of them are waiting shyly, hoping for balls to come magically their way. Others are trying to draw attention to themselves, shouting out players' names. Soon, I begin to get bored. I have no glove. I have no interest in catching a ball. I (as always) have a book with me to read. I'm longing to go sit down and read until the game starts.
"I'm bored," I tell Bob. "I'm gonna go sit down."
"No. No. No," Bob tells me. "You can't go sit down. You might catch a ball."
Yeah. Right. Me. The one balls have always hits on the head/in the stomach/anywhere that might knock her flat. Bob is very persuasive, though. Somehow, he manages to convince me to stay.
Within minutes, Jorge Sosa, pitcher for Tampa Bay, looks up into the stands. All the little boys around me hold their gloves out hopefully as they notice he has a ball in his hand. I watch the boys and hope one of them manages to catch it.
Suddenly, Jorge points at us. No, wait a minute. He seems to be pointing at me. Whoa! I look to my right and gesture questioningly at the little boy standing right next to me. Is he pointing to this guy? Nope. Jorge shakes his head and, decidedly, points right at me. Double whoa! I gesture to myself, and he nods his head up and down. Uh-oh. He plans to throw the ball to me. Will it hit me in the face? Will I break a finger trying to catch it?
You know, there is a reason these guys are professional pitchers. He tosses it gently up to me through the crowds, and (for the first time in my life, I am pretty sure) I catch a baseball. In case you are wondering what pure bliss feels like, I can tell you (just take a look at that photo).