Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy flight!*

This year, I'm all like:
This time last year, I was all like:

The San Francisco Giants — my Giants — are tearing up the season already, tearing covers off baseballs, tearing up the National League West champs the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They are already leading the league in home runs. (!) Even with two World Series rings in the last four years, the Giants have not been known for power.

It's early yet. Yet, my parade: Do not rain.

Last year this time the Dodgers were giving the Giants of taste of how the season would end. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw threw a shutout AND hit the game-winning homer.

I was trying not to sweat it this time last year, but I kept a weather eye out for trouble.

Now — no ill will meant — Kershaw is hurt and may be out as many as two months, and the Giants are ripping the ball.

No schadenfreude here. Not even a little. Not my style, nor my nature. OK, maybe a molecule … 

I got my mind right for the season, watching "Angels in the Outfield," the 1951 zeitgeist-y original with Paul Douglas and Janet Leigh, sweet and slightly schmaltzy, players in their blousy uniforms, the angels vivid and powerful in their help for the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates namely because we couldn't see them. The remake with Danny Glover and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a lot of computer graphics ruined all that for me.

And I read one of my favorite poems, by Robert Francis:

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,

His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He

Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,

But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate

Making the batter understand too late.

I will take it easy as a fan this year, enjoying the moment, taking nothing personally. Last year I nearly drowned in my own tears when the Giants finished in fourth.

I exaggerate for effect. It was really my own flop sweat.

Play. Ball!


Our home contains no tweezers that I can find. Not that I need tweezers a lot, but when I do, I really do. A big sliver slid into the palm of my hand Saturday.

But our home does have, readily accessible in a bathroom drawer, a rattlesnake bite kit. It's the kind with the two rubber suction cups, molded with a vaguely snakeskin pattern, that draws out the venom and encases the cutting tools afterward. Poisonous serpents are so afraid of this fact they have never shown their pit-viperous faces around here.

Twenty years ago, as many as 1 million Rwandans were slaughtered in three months, primarily Hutus killing minority Tutsis. A most horrible genocide for utterly inhuman reasons. Not that any reason can be made.

We could not be bothered over here, gripped (so to speak) as we were by an issue of vital national consequence: Whether a leather glove fit O.J. Simpson's hand. Remember?


* "Happy flight" is a phrase attributed to Giants center fielder Angel Pagan, meaning the team's mood on the plan after a winning road trip.

Pagan holds high regard in our family, so high our children made him the angel atop our tree two Christmases ago.

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