The Long Season - My Baseball Memories.

David Scott Hay
Published on: June 2012
I am 10. My best friend, Tim Houchin hits a line drive to my chest. I fall back into a fire ant pile. Littered with cockleburs.

I am 26. I get called up to fill-in for the company soft-ball team. I go 4-4. Six games later, I start a bench-clearing brawl. The opposition showboated at home plate. I am the catcher.

I am 30. First trip to Wrigley. A perfect day, perfect beer. It is magical and inside the park is advertisement free. A shrine, a cathedral. Pure. I empty a third of my checking account to buy a Kerry Wood jersey.

I am 35. I learn a bit more of the art and science of baseball. I hate Wrigley. It's an outdoor beer garden. People yammer about nothing, not even watching the game. It's a social event. It's expensive. I jump ship to the Sox. The year is 2005.

I am 12. The big Sixth Graders vs. the Teachers game. I am fat and slow. I bunt. I make it to first base safely. Am then called out for bunting. I call bullshit. But hold my head up.
the long season,memory
I am 33. I take a Rabbi Bucky to Wrigley. It's his first. Through a quirk of weather and timing, it happens to be a double header. The Cubs need to win both and someone else needs to lose two. We are on the second level. Everything thing that needs to happen happens. Cubs win their division. The sun is at the Magic Hour. From our seats, the boats on Lake Michigan glow. It is a perfect moment.

I am 38. My buddy Jeff and I go last minute to a Sox game. Run into a playwright friend with access to a luxury box. He convinces the gatekeeper we are VIP. From said box, snacking on caramel apples, we watch Mark Buehrle throw a no-no.

I am 27. Tie game. Bottom of the ninth, one out, and the guy on deck is oh-fer. No matter how hard I swing I always hit just over in the infield. The other team fails to note this and adjust. I hit a game winning RBI.

I am 35. That game-winning RBI story is reenacted 30 times on a Chicago stage. The Chicago Sun-Times gives me the best review of my career.
I am 36.

PART I - I am at 30,000 feet trying desperately to get the deciding Game 4 of the WS on the airplane radio. It's static and dead space interspersed with numbers and last names. Dye. Konerkno. An alien transmission run through a schoolroom fan.

PART II - My wife picks me up. "I set the VCR 'til 11:00 p.m." I watch the tape. Top of the 9th. Jenks goes into his wind up. He throws. Static. It stopped recording at 11:01.

PART III - Spotty Wi-Fi at her hotel. At least I'll make the parade. It's Tuesday. I return on Wednesday.
I am 42. I buy my girlfriend, a former Master Electrician (and Cubs fan) Sox/Cubs tix for an early birthday present. A monsoon hits in the 5th inning and we go home soaked.

I am 29. Playing XBox baseball. I hit a single and keep running despite the obvious single. My opponent gets flustered trying to throw me out. I steal three bases and score a homerun.

I am 34. I'm visiting friends in Tulsa. With Kerry Wood on the mound, a man named Steve Bartman does what any of us would have done. I see an elderly fan at the game weep. She knows. The next day no one in Tulsa cares. I'm glad I am not in Chicago.

I am 31. I'm a carpenter at a regional theatre in Chicago. Me, the Master Electrician, and other carpenters devise a game called Tapeball. You get three pitches. And swing from the stage. My first hit knocks the tape-ball into the small open window of the stage management booth. The area designated as a Gland Slam. It is a perfect moment. 11 years later I'm living with said former Master Electrician.

I am 7. Standing behind the outfield wall for the OKC 89'ers. Waiting for HR balls or fouls. One comes. The bigger kid gets it. Baseball sucks.

I am 38. Same playwright friend and the luxury box. We talk shop. I stealthily get drunk. As in two of this and that. All the while thinking, I've only had two, period. I get home (train). Drunk, I pitch email two stories to my friend. He bites on one. I have to go back and read the email to see what I sent. 4 years later we have a major play going up. People are asking for the screenplay.
I am 32. I go see a Kane County Cougars game. Willie Harris is playing. Years later, he will score an important run in the Sox World Series game. I sunburn so badly wearing my tank top tan lines last for almost two years.

I am 36. I'm with Kurtwood Smith from That 70's Show at Wrigley. He's in town doing a movie. I directed him in an indie 2 years ago. We sit behind home plate. He turns and says to me, "it's good to know the owner of the Red Sox."

I am 17. Walking out of a movie theater with Tim Houchin and the Beatty twins. Baseball is not even a fleeting thought. We've just seen Robocop. I'm gushing about an actor named Kurtwood Smith.

I am 40. Wrigley. It's April. Jeff and I drink hot chocolate. A foul ball is hit my way. The woman in front of me deflects it, changing its angle. The ball nearly breaks my finger.

I am 34. I'm driving home listening to the Cubs on the radio. A game winning homerun is hit. Santo does his verbal pyrotechnics. I do a fist pump and honk my horn. At the same time the driver in front of me does the same. I pull up beside him. We give each other the thumbs up. It's good to be alive.
I am 30. In Canadian wine country, I'm on my honeymoon. We see a Jays game. Leaning back you can see the entire ring of the nearly empty stadium with the CN needle tower looming in view. 11 years and 27 days later is the 1 year anniversary of our divorce. Jeff sides with my ex.

I am 40. Watching from the conference room on the big screen, DeWayne Wise goes up against a padded wall and robs a homerun from Gabe Kapler. Two outs later, Buehrle finishes throwing a perfect game. On my birthday.
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