In early spring, it is most pleasant to go to a minor league baseball game. On Friday night, Sally and I went over to Durham to see our first Bulls game of the season, where they played Syracuse. Just as we got to the stadium parking, it began to rain, and just as we got to the gate to hand over our home-printed ticket, it started to pour — so much so that the scanner had trouble reading our tickets. So we got wet, and it continued to rain for most of the next hour. But the sky kept getting brighter, and we had pizza and beer, talked, and looked at the types in the crowd.
When the rain finally stopped, we watched the stadium crew roll up the giant tarps that covered the infield and sweep the baselines. We watched the Syracuse pitcher warm up, throwing gently at first, then harder and harder. We’d bought tickets four rows back from the field halfway down the third base line, but after some quick soul-searching decided to award ourselves a free upgrade to empty seats in the area immediately behind home plate. I used my jacket to dry the seats as best I could (i.e. not completely), which Sally supplemented with paper napkins, and we sat down.
Both pitchers were throwing fastballs around 91 MPH, which doesn’t look amazing on TV, but from behind home plate is fairly impressive. The batters on deck warmed up directly in front of us, and I studied their mechanics with the thought of improving my golf swing. These were strong young guys. And the game unfolded slowly but distinctly, as baseball games will. The first Bulls batter hit a home run on the first pitch, and there was no further scoring for several innings. Yet there were jabs of excitement here and there — a close play at first, a double, a stolen base, an out at home plate, a double play. Between innings there were mascot antics, T-shirt giveaways, and contests for little kids. We never quite got dry, though, and as it got cooler we felt chilly. We packed it in after six innings. The Bulls eventually won 3-1.
I was disdainful of baseball for part of my youth and generally indifferent to it for many years. I still don’t find it very engaging on television, but a live game is something else. It isn’t so much the drama, but something else. The combination of genes and training that makes a ball move quickly from pitcher to batter, from batter to shortstop, and shortstop to first is awesome. The green grass, the red clay, and the white baselines are beautiful.
The next morning I did a two-hour yoga class at Blue Lotus with Yvonne aptly named Juicy Flow yoga. Yvonne likes to push herself and her classes to their limits, and her normal Saturday classes of an hour and a half are not for sissies. Her longer Juicy Flow class is about moving with music, sometimes rapidly for several minutes, in unfamiliar ways. The music is an eclectic mix of east and west, soul, disco, rock, and other. It’s lively fun, at least at first. I sweated a ton, and my mat got so wet it was difficult to do a down dog. I pushed hard for an hour and a half, then suddenly hit the wall and felt like I might get sick. I noted with some alarm that my upper body strength, which is usually good, was gone; I couldn’t hold my arms over my head. Never was I more relieved to lie on my back in shavasana for a few minutes, just breathing.