Sometimes a baseball game is exciting because the sport itself is thrilling – because the playoffs are on the line, or the players are about to do something particularly exceptional. Sometimes the game is an event because of something special – like being opening day, or in the case of Tuesday night, being the major league debut of a hotly anticipated young pitcher. The opportunity to see a young man achieve his dreams is always exciting.
But most of the year, a game is just a game, and while it’s exciting in the moment, they merely add up to one of hundreds of games that will take place over the course of the season. No matter if the Nationals aren’t playing a hotly contested division rival, or if it’s the doldrums of late June before a badly needed All Star break. There will still be cheese steak nachos that need to be sold at the “Taste of the Majors”. They will be orange and hot and delicious in a way that makes you hate yourself a little bit no matter what time of year it is.
Occasionally it will rain, and the game will be delayed before it even begins. You’ll take your container of nachos and settle in under the covered walkway and be glad that you have a friend at the game with you. You will talk about silly things – how to prank people, the most ridiculous things you could have on a temporary tattoo, that kind of stuff. You will talk about serious stuff – children, relationships, and the fact that you’ve been friends for more than a decade.
As the grounds crew eventually begins to clear the field, you realize that baseball has always been a background entity in your friendship. Tonight he wears a Red Sox cap, and the year that you met, they won the world series. He has adopted your local team as his National league team, and enjoys going to games, though the aforementioned kids make getting out and about that much more difficult.
When there are 162 games every season, sometimes it’s no about the game, no matter the name of the guy who is pitching for the first time. Sometimes it’s about having a background for your friendship – something that means a lot to you both – and the rain delay that allows you to catch up properly. Sometimes baseball is about baseball, and sometimes it’s a facilitator for so much more.
Tuesday’s game started roughly 45 minutes late, and would be delayed a second time for nearly one and a half hours. The Nationals scored in the second inning (which we saw), and then we left at the end of the fourth when the rain got really bad. Fortunately, this was all that Lucas Giolito saw of the game either, so we may have missed a few more runs, but we got the gist of the game. Friend B and I had a lovely time despite all the rain.