Focus On: It all depends on your perspective
I can deal with tune-up games.
But when you play six innings and you finish with a 21-2 win, the game looks less like a tune-up and more like the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals.
The question is, have the Washinton Generals ever been leading after one frame?
When the Boise Hawks took on a team of Treasure Valley “All-Stars” to open their season, that’s how it started. A team of 25 and up (mostly up) led after the first inning.
It’s never a good sign when it’s pouring outside, and the rain is taking second place to what’s happening on the field in dampening the moods of the fans.
So maybe I was just approaching the game in the wrong way. Maybe assuming the linescore is the most important aspect of the final product of a game is a mistake.
When I saw Friday’s game I saw a drubbing, I saw rain allowing for a small group of dedicated fans, and I had to find out how the athletes saw it. This could not have been good for the guys.
“This was good for the guys,” Hawks hitting coach Ricardo Medina said.
Won’t be the last time I swing and miss.
“Where we come from, we were playing all day games. These guys need to know the feels of the game, the adrenaline. This was like opening day. I think this was more than enough to get us ready. I mean, look at the fans that were there. In Mesa we were playing for a scorekeeper and three or four fans.”
If the guys playing in Friday’s game thought the 50-something fans that showed up were a big group, I can’t wait to see their reaction on Saturday’s opener.
So I took the time to talk to a couple fans, a player from both sides, a wife of an “All-Star” and found something very interesting.
Not one person I talked to was seeing the same thing from the game.
The fan saw the 21 runs, and worried about how it would affect the losing players. The wife was so giddy about her husband playing against professional athletes, I’m not sure she even noticed the game was going on outside her camera’s lens.
Honestly, I won’t mention his name, (Mike Blackham), but if you see someone add a 650-picture folder on their facebook profile this weekend, it was this guy’s wife. And I think it was the most charming thing I could have seen at the game, just edging out the great potato race, of course.
With 21 runs on the board, one hit for her husband’s team, and seven errors (although I’m fairly certain they stopped counting them in the second), all she could think was how proud she was that he was playing.
So what did the athletes see on the board?
Every player I talked to told me the same thing. They saw the errors.
Apparently it doesn’t matter what level of an athlete you are, the fundamentals will stick out.
But instead of sharing my opinion of the team thus far (you’ll get plenty of that as the season progresses), I’ll turn to Blackham and his thoughts of the Hawks.
“They’re just baseball players,” he said. “They’re just twice as fast. And I don’t mean just the pitchers or the running. I mean, the insticts and the discipline.
These guys would hit a blooper, and you turn around and you see them on second and think, ‘What the hell?'”
It’s easy to sit at a game with rain, and watch the pro baseball players go down in the first inning and think it’s going to be a long year.
Thanks to Blackham and his wife for reminding me that baseball isn’t just a sport.
It’s a game.
And every person in the park on any given day will take something different from it.
All it took was a wife and her athlete to remind me that the players in Boise are something special.
They may be young, but there’s a reason they’re among the select thousands of baseball players that can be called true professionals.
Today those “All Stars” are waking up in their lives as a civil engineer, or teacher, or writer.
They’ve played their season.
The Boise Hawks haven’t even played their first real game. On Saturday their players start or continue their careers in a very special tradition handed down every year in baseball.
And they call it, opening day.