The Baseball Desert

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

I haven't posted on here for a couple of days, and there's been too much baseball in that period for me be able to comment on it all, so I thought I would just share my personal baseball moment from the past weekend. Our club hosted the equivalent of the French national Junior Little League playoffs, and in the final - between Montpellier and Nice - one of the Montpellier players came to bat with the bases loaded. This guy was the smallest player on either of the teams, and I was sat in the stands wondering how the pitcher was ever going to get a ball into the very small strike zone. The batter watched three balls go by way outside the strike zone and then, on the fourth pitch, by some kind of miracle, the pitcher managed to get one over the plate at a hittable height, and the little guy took a whack at it. The ball sailed over second base, bounced in front of and over the charging center-fielder and rolled all the way to the wall, for an inside-the-park grand-slam! The batter raced around the bases and came home to a standing ovation from the crowd and hugs and high-fives from his teammates.

There were only about 200 people watching the game (it doesn't sound like much, but believe me, in France, 200 is a huge baseball crowd), so maybe it lacked some of the excitement and noise of, say, Kirk Gibson's walkoff home run in Game 1 of the '88 Series against Oakland, or Tino Martinez' two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth, game-tying home run in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks, but it was a moment that instantly entered my All-Time Top 5 Baseball Moments. It doesn't matter whether you're playing in front of 50 or 50,000 - that kind of moment brings the same kind of smile to everyone's faces and reminds us just what a great game this is...