Focus On: Staying focused

Baseball has grown beyond what’s on the field.theirview.jpg

It’s easy to sit in the press box and write a game-story on each pitch.

But the media has shifted to writing more and more about what’s happening off the field, and less about the actual action on it.

One of the benefits of my job is my ability to view the game from assorted parts of the stadium, with assorted fans, without having a gaudy orange sweater that would interrupt the view of the fans I sit with.

Last night I was lucky enough to sit with Emmet Herndon and his wife of 64 years, Janet.

Emmet is 86 years old. But he’s more active than me, easily. He rides his bike to the games, and to work at Peasley Transfer every day.

During the game he keeps score, and updates those that sit near him of the recent at-bats.

Nothing on the field was past his understanding, and he pointed things out to me that I wouldn’t have picked up on otherwise.

scorebook.jpgWhen the Hawks were leading 2-1 in their 3-2 loss to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Sunday, he noticed the Hawks infield move in.

“Look at that,” he said. “They’re moving in the infield to cut off the runner on third.”

The next pitch went over second base by little more than a foot.

“Looks like they should have left the infield back. He woulda got him.”

He goes to each game with Janet, and remembers going to Boise games in the 40s and 50s with her as well.

“This game has changed a lot less than a lot of sports,” he said. “It’s nice. You get used to certain traditions and practices.”

couple.jpgI had to laugh when he mocked my use of my cell phone to update my facebook, twitter, email, texts and story while I was sitting with him.

“You have to focus on the game at some point, don’t you?”

For a moment he got me to put my phone away and just enjoy the game with a man and his wife that have forgotten more about baseball than I hope to learn.

The Hawks may not have won, but the four innings I watched with him were the closest to relaxation I’ve had in a while. It’s easy to forget how to watch a game as a fan, when you always have a job to do.

In the wise words of Herndon:

“It’s a pleasant way to spend a summer evening, don’t you think?”

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