Ah, minor league baseball. On the one hand, it can be exciting if not every pop out is guaranteed, and not every easy out at first is that easy. On the other hand, it can be boring if nothing is happening on the field and you forget you’re even at a baseball game as you become more entertained by the conversations or iPhones or food in front of you. The tickets are cheap, so you don’t feel as badly if you’re not paying attention, but eventually you have to actually remind yourself to watch these young guys on the field, and you wonder whether minor league just isn’t quite as exhilarating as certain other leagues.
Last night, the Brooklyn Cyclones were doing a great job of proving this principle, though they had some help from the Staten Island Yankees. After a rain delay before the first inning was over and a subsequent string of nothingness in innings 1-4, the game became tied in the 6th inning.
And then again nothing.
At a certain point, I was hoping the guy next to me, who for some reason had decided to show me every single picture he’d posted to Facebook since at least 2009, would show me a photo at the exact time a foul ball came my way and the ball would hit me on the head just to spice things up a bit.
By the 9th inning, the situation was turning serious. The persistent even score combined with the slow pace of the action (if you could call it action) on the field was a scientific recipe for restlessness.
“What if they keep it tied for years?” I asked. “What if we’re still at this game when we’re 100 years old?”
“You’ll be sitting in this seat knitting,” the picture guy said, “and talking about how you remember when you first started watching this game.”
It felt like a real possibility. By the bottom of the 10th inning, I had resigned myself to never leaving the Cyclones stadium.
Then, two guys got on base. Next, an intentional walk.
Suddenly the crowd, which up until then had mostly been engrossed in checking scores of major league baseball games, rose to their feet. There was actually a potentially big play coming up. Whatever happened next could be the difference between a win and a loss. A victory or a defeat. Staying at the ballpark forever or getting on the train back from Brooklyn. It was important.
Deep down, I knew nothing would come of this play with the bases loaded. The other team would get a simple double play; the game would continue; the Cyclones would eventually lose in maybe the 16th inning.
But then–a sac-fly. A too-close-for-the-naked-eye-even-though-we-were-sitting-in-the-4th-row play at home. A win!
Which is why, though I joke about how boring minor league games are, the Cyclones know I don’t really mean it. Because the Cyclones and I, we’re the same. In the face of obvious pointlessness, we trudge on. In the presence of what looks like a hopeless situation, we forge ahead. When it seems like it can’t end well, we try anyway.
So maybe we’re not what you’d call exhilarating, but we’re not boring. We just came here with a job to do and we’re going to persist until we do it, even if the people who are supposed to be cheering us on are too worried about not getting out in time to catch the express train because that will mean it’ll take almost 2 hours to get home to Astoria. We don’t care. We keep going.
Because we know that sometimes–maybe one out of a million (a trillion? a billion?) times–all of that effort and tenacity and loyalty and persistence and grit and yes, stubbornness pays off. And that one time makes it all worth it.