When I’m not writing about baseball, I write fiction, mostly literary fiction, mostly realism. If you ever take a creative writing class, someone is bound to tell you to avoid cliches (sometimes they’ll tell you to avoid them like the plague because they think it’s cute to be ironic). If I wrote a short story that ended the way last night’s game did, I’d be accused of a hugely cliched ending. Endings where the rookie who’s only been in the majors a few days comes in with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, scored tied, and gets a hit–his first major league hit, mind you–to win the game are the stuff of hackneyed pulp fiction or chapter books for middle school readers. And yet it happened, and it was beautiful.
Baseball has this continual ability to delight, even when we see the same plays, the same outcomes over and over. Jason Kipnis isn’t the first rookie to win a game with his first major league hit, and he won’t be the last. Yet when he smacked that lovely single to right to score the winning run, we jumped up and screamed our lungs out, even though we’ve seen it before. Even if it’s not your team, there’s something about a moment like that that can’t help but make you smile. It’s nice to see someone succeed and do so with a little panache. It’s like Derek Jeter* getting a home run for his 3,000th hit. If you read that in a novel or saw it in a film, you’d say, “Geez, what a sappy ending.” But when you saw it actually happen, even those of us who hate the Yankees had to admit that it was a nice moment.
That’s what baseball gives us–tons of nice moments, tons of memories. Love this game.
*I’m slightly disgusted with myself for referencing Derek Jeter in two consecutive posts. It won’t happen again.