The last inning began with the home team ahead 8-2. The game hadn’t been close until this inning . . . the visitors, the “Orioles”, hit their way on base batter after batter. The infielders of the home team, “Cubs”, were not at their best — fatigue, nerves, what have you . . . you could see it. Momentum was spinning grounders and causing balls to hop over our infielders gloves. 8-3. 8-4. 8-5. The Orioles were catching up. They had runners on base. A ball gets loose into the outfield. A runner scores. 8-6. 2 runners on base. The winning run at the plate. The first batter strikes out. The second grounds to first. The runners advance. The tying run is on 2nd and a runner on 3rd. 2 outs. Runners are told when there are 2 outs to run on any contact.
The batter fouls one off. The batter swings and misses. The batter fouls one off. 2 strikes. 2 out. The catcher crouches down. Glove up. The pitch. The batter tips the ball but . . . the catcher, alert, catches the ball. Game Over — 3rd Strike, Foul Tip, caught by the catcher. The game winning catch. The Catch.
The catcher was my son, Harley. It was an amazing moment for a parent, for me. It was even more amazing to watch him. His teammates acknowledging him. Yelling his name. His smile beaming . . . wide. Happy. I was happy for him.
I didn’t grow up playing baseball besides in the street. I never fell in love with the game. But . . . I can see how men, young and grown, have and continue to do so. The Catch.