Updated on May 11, 2016
I don’t think it’s a secret that I LOVE baseball season! I was raised a Cubs fan and would watch them on TV or catch a game here and there. But now that I’m raising a houseful of boys, Spring in our house equals baseball. We are raising our kids to be Cubs fans too. I know they are the Lovable Losers and we have had many painful years, but now, #WeAreGood!! And they are fun to watch!
So a couple of weeks ago, Jake Arietta, the Cy Young award winner, pitched another no hitter! For those of you non-baseball fans, this is a big deal. Like, really big. It does not happen all that often. Oh, and this was Arietta’s second no-hitter as a Cub. I watched the game with tears in my eyes as Arietta accomplished this awesome feat. I cry a lot as I watch baseball actually, and as I watched Arietta pitch to that last batter, I realized why.
You see, a no hitter is different from a Perfect Game. In a no hitter, batters can be walked. And a no-hitter, also doesn’t mean that nobody made contact with the ball. In a no-hitter though, when the batter makes contact with the ball, the rest of the team does their job too. Balls are caught in the outfield. The third baseman makes a stop and throws with perfect precision to the first baseman to get the batter out. There were several of these plays during Arietta’s no-hitter.
Also, David Ross was his catcher for that game. He is the one calling the pitches. He is also playing a nearly perfect game, letting no balls get past him. He and his pitcher are like one, in sync and beautifully choreographed. It was truly beautiful to watch.So why did I cry watching Heyward make that last catch in right field for the third out in the 9th inning, allowing Arietta to get his no-hitter? Because baseball takes a whole team. If Heyward had missed that ball, no no-hitter. If Rizzo, or Bryant, or Ross, or any of the other eight men out on that field had not done their job, there would have been no no-hitter.
And as that last catch was made, all eight of Arietta’s teammates celebrated Arietta’s achievement. They were a TEAM! Arietta got the win. But the beauty of baseball to me, is that there really can be no I. There is not one person who wins the game, just as there is never one person who loses a game.
It is so nice to finally have a great Cubs team and to see them win. But what I love most about watching them and having my boys watch them, is the way they salute the flag when they sing the National Anthem. The way they have fun together. The way they celebrate their teammates for home runs and no-hitters. The way they have each other’s backs when an error is made. The way Rizzo’s walk out song is a tribute to a former teammate. The camaraderie that exists between these men.
I want my boys to play baseball because it’s so much fun to watch. And I really like it when they win. And I like it even better when my kid gets a great hit or makes a great play. But I don’t always care if they win or lose or strikeout or miss a catch. I want them to learn to hold their heads up if they lose. I want them to know if they strike-out, they will get another at bat. I want them to high five their teammate for a great play. I want them to know that they are part of a brotherhood. That they are making memories and building relationships and learning that life isn’t all about THEM, because you can not get through it alone. Absolutely, strive to be great. Work hard. But some days, you will have a bad game, and your TEAM will be there to help you out.
As I was still recovering from the emotion of the no-hitter, a boy on Number 2’s baseball team hit his first out of the park home run. Not only was it his first home run, it was the first home run for any of these boys. I’m sure in the back of their heads, some of these boys thought, “Wow, I wish it was me.” But as he rounded the bases, his whole team met him at home to congratulate him…just like the Cubs after Arietta’s no-hitter. And yes, I cried right alongside his momma.This, my friends, is why I love baseball. And if you need me over the next couple of months, I will probably be on a ball field…crying at the beauty of it all.