This post is the first in a nine-part series from Joshua Murray on his reflections on baseball, on his grandfather, and on finding God in every blade of grass. For Part Two, click here.
The moment Pablo Sandoval caught the foul ball of Salvador Perez off the third base line for the final out of the 2014 World Series, my phone blew up. I was receiving some texts throughout the game, a lot of which I was ignoring because I was too focused on the game and the fact that I was seeing something I’ve only read about in books or heard about in stories told by older baseball fans and sportscasters. It was Game 7—Madison Bumgarner came into the game to throw five scoreless innings on only two days rest after throwing a complete game shutout for Game 5. This was following pitching seven innings of one-run balls. And a complete game shutout for the Wild Card game.
The texts after the catch were messages of congratulations and “you sure know how to pick them”—because in New York if the Yankees don’t make the post season, no one really cares about the World Series and it loses out fully to the start of football season. That night I was pacing during the game, only going to the bathroom during commercials. Dropping food on the table because I wouldn’t look down at my plate because I didn’t want to miss a single pitch. I was screaming. And cursing. Clapping. And doing all of it loudly.
After responding to these texts I slumped onto my couch muted the post-game coverage and just got taken over with a wave of melancholy.
The next day all the co-workers that have known me for being not only the only Giants fan in the office, but the only person to like a baseball team that is not a current New York team, were coming to me saying things like, “You must be happy today,” and “You still riding that Giants victory?” But I couldn’t help but shake a sad feeling I had. I felt like maybe I should feel happier. I flipped through my phone and I saw the baseball widget on my phone reading “No games scheduled for today.” Then it made sense to me that my blueness came from the fact that baseball is over for the season.
I put on my headphones and listened to Take Me Out to the Ballgame played by a single trumpet, from the Ken Burns Baseball documentary. And it played in my ears the way Taps plays at a funeral, and I felt emotional and vaguely choked up.
If he could get paid to do nothing but train jiu-jitsu, yo-yo, read, and talk about baseball all day he would do it gladly. Because it is all he wants to do. All day long. Every day. But sadly he needs to stay employed. So to meet that requirement he works doing graphics and design in the marketing department of an engineering firm. He graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in Biblical Studies, all of which he wastes by collecting more books than he'll ever read. He is a writer who doesn't write as often as he should. Maybe he will. He's probably best described as a cross between a believer and some sort of mystic weirdo ever since someone taught him to look for God in everything he sees. Which as it turns out is always a blessing, but sometimes a curse. And his life hasn't been the same since. He still hates riding trains.