The day is long and anticipating for the final game of the season. The long may is just as cold as when winter first struck. Thrashers vs. Drillers, starting time at 1:00 the board read. It’s about 11:00 when the coach walks in and announces, “Ok, time for warm-up boys.” We walk down the long narrow dark tunnel. At the end was a saying that we touched before every game, “110% on the field or you’ll be riding the bench with me.” We walk out with the sun glaring in our eyes, like a cops spotlight on you in a dark place. We take the field with batters up and players in the fielding balls. I step up first to take my swings in the batters box. “Crack,” the first pitch takes off and makes a thud as it hits the matted walls. I told the coach, “ill end on that one coach.” I go to the field to shag a few fly balls off the carpets of grass. The balls took huge hops, as if a kid was jumping on a trampoline. As warm ups come to an end we scurry off the field back down the tunnel to the locker room. The clink clack of the metal spikes across the concrete as we walk, gives a tingling sensation to the hair in my ears. We sit patiently in our lockers awaiting the coaches to announce the starting lineup. As it is quiet in the room, I step up as the team captain and say “guys today is our time to shine, and show everyone what we are made of so don’t hold back.” As I finish the coaches creep out of their office with the lineup and stick it into the tack board. I read it excited, I’m leading off first time all year. It shows that the coaches need me to step up as a captain that they made me. The clock struck 12:00. We walk out the team room hearing the fans yelling and cheering, as if the game has already started. We put up our things in the dugout awaiting the coaches to come out and say “go.” When we get settled in on the bench the coaches run out with bats and say “go.” We sprint out onto the field as me and my catcher trot to the bullpen. The pitching coach comes in right behind us to pep talk me while I warm up. I throw and get loose, so my arms are ready to bring the heat. As my arms loosen the coach said “one pitch, bring it.” I threw a fastball right over the plate striking his mitt; the catcher replies “you’re good let’s go.” I go back to the dugout to relax and wait for the presentations of colors and teams. The marching yellow jackets walk on to the field following behind the national guards. As they call the away team first I wait patiently for them to call are team because my names going to be first. They announce the Drillers, “and leading off Chris Shaw,” and I run out of the dugout and stumble of the top stair, and get up with laughter and I just brush it off. I take the mound and make my marks, to show I’m in charge today. I throw my eight pitches for warm up and begin to focus on the tunnel vision from the mound to the plate.
The Long Waited Game
October 31, 2007