I woke up this morning to a reminder, “St. Louis Cardinals @ Cincinnati Reds,” this morning. My heart felt like it had been ripped from my chest. The game wouldn’t be played. Jack Flaherty wouldn’t throw a perfect game. Joey Votto wouldn’t come out to an obscene walk up song. I wouldn’t yell Go Moose! and immediately receive glares from St. Louis Cardinals fans. Paul DeJong wouldn’t be the security man for Paul Goldschmidt. Harrison Bader wouldn’t make a game saving diving catch in center field.
For the last 14 days, I have felt dread and heartbreak while waiting on this day to come. My planner sits proudly on my desk, beside my Stan Musial bobble head and my Adam Wainwright autographed photo of Busch Stadium. The planner is filled with dates. Major League Baseball games, Minor League games, Independent League games, OVL games, and high school games. Games that I would cover, games that I would simply spectate. As I type this, nothing is given. Nothing is certain.
Today, I threw a baseball for the first time in 11 years. I practiced safe social distancing by playing catch with my dog has who never missed watching a game with me. The pop of a baseball hitting the leather glove, the rotation as the ball flies through the air. Baseball is my heaven, my security blanket. The baseball field is my church. I talk to God when I’m in the bleachers, when I’m in a dugout, or when I’m in a press box.
So thank you baseball,
Thank you baseball for always being there for me. Even as a little kid when I stood on the field afraid of getting my white shoes and frilly socks dirty.
Thank you baseball for allowing me to have a bond with my father that’ll hold true forever. A daughter and her father spending endless nights under the lights trying to perfect the game.
Thank you baseball for giving me butterflies when I felt so numb to everything around me. A woman grieving death, grieving love and desperately hoping for a brighter future.
Thank you baseball for lighting a fire in me as a child and allowing it to burn into adulthood.
Photo Credit: Dugout Dish/Chelsea Ladd