Writing > Yes, there are rain delays

April 18, 2011: Yes, there are rain delays

Game 1: Diablos Rojos del México 5 Saraperos de Saltillo 0 (7 innings)
4:00pm Saturday April 16, 2011
Time: 2:14 (:32 rain delay, before being called)
Attendance: 7,523
Weather: nice and sunny to begin with...

Watching the end of the Yankees-Rangers game made me a wee bit later leaving than I ordinarily would. A couple of those unexplained delays on the subway and I was definitely going to miss first pitch.

Something, some sort of fair with lots of inflateable bouncy things, is going on at a sports place across from the ballpark. Entry to the bouncies clearly costs money because the bridge that crosses an eight lane road from there to the ballpark is closed off. So I had to use a farther away Metro station. Long queue to buy a ticket, and a long queue at gate to get in. Still, a pretty girl at the gate sprayed into Corona-branded clothes was giving away similarly-braded ThunderStix. Being a smoker, there's no way I could be arsed to blow those bad boys up even if I wanted to.

I imagine everyone has moments of clarity about lots of elements in life, but with me and baseball those moments come at the most mundane times. It's not magnificent catches, strikeouts, walk-off home runs. It's not even the beauty of a double play, which is without question my favourite thing in baseball. The moments that make baseball great, the moments that make me realise I love this game enough to ignore the friends who suggest doing X or Y on a Saturday afternoon: it's seeing a grounder to third, the third baseman doing that thing when he secures it in his glove and throws perfectly to first. An ordinary moment, but it's those little things (I'm worried that my iPod auto-corrected "things" to "thongs"), it's those little things in the same way that it's the little things in a relationship - the hand on the shoulder as you pass in the kitchen - not the "best sex ever" that make a relationship special.

This was only the second weekend game I've been to, and the dancers were back. And still badly in need of some rehearsal.

Of all the players on the field, the Diablos left fielder Ivan Terrazas was the only one to step on the lines when he left the field. Jose Mercedes, the Saltillo pitcher, though, took an over-exaggerated huge step, almost Cleese-ian, over the line.

This game was the first since opening day where I didn't keep score or extensive notes on the game. I must admit I enjoyed it more. Looking back at the Gameday thingy, stuff happened that I didn't notice. I'm partially going to blame that on a woman sat a couple of rows behind me. I have no idea what she looked like, but she was wearing Calvin Klein Obsession perfume, a smell that reminds me of earlier times of my life; a perfume that was popular when I was at art college and still makes a little weak at the knees.

I'm too new to this game to pretend that its beauty hasn't been covered in minute detail. Updike's essay on Williams, all the talking heads on "Baseball," it's all been registered many times. But in this, my seventh season following baseball, I'm realising it's something that will never end. Just as the older you get you realise you don't know all the answers in life, there's so much that can be seen in the way a pitcher walks back up the mound. The way he carries himself. The majority of my baseball viewing is, like most people I imagine, on television (strictly, for me, as someone who lives outside of the States or Toronto, on MLB.tv) but at a game there are things that cannot be seen via cameras and producers and editors. It's men doing their jobs. Stood around. And I find it endlessly fascinating watching them.

The Diablos got a run in the bottom of the fourth, and in the fifth, two singles, a balk, and a walk load the bases. Third baseman Jose Castillo doubles, knocking in two. Pitching change, single, sac fly, and the Home team are 5-0 up as the warm afternoon gets cloudier and a bit windier, and the rain starts coming down. The sixth inning is played through the rain, and as it picks up, finally, the umpire signals for the players to leave the field and the tarp comes out. It's leathering it down. The electricity goes off momentarily, emergency lights come on, and there we all sit, watching a white square of tarpaulin. Half an hour or so later, the umps came out, had a look at the big puddles forming in the outfield and on the warning track. One of them signals to the cabins above home plate, and moments later, the announcer announces that the game is over, thanks for coming.

Still chucking it down, I trudged to the subway. Within minutes I was soaked through. Even the notes in my wallet were wet. And hail. Hailstones. I never really imagined it would hail in Mexico City, but there you go: I was wrong.

I'd been planning to go to Sunday afternoon's game, too, but a wee bit hungover, I didn't make it out of bed in time, so watched the game sprawled on the sofa. First time I've watched a Diablos game on television. One gets used to MLB camerawork and direction. Lots of angles, replays, and stuff. Not here. It's not very good at all. One example: camera shows the regular view of a pitch: over the pitcher's right shoulder. Batter hits a ground ball up the middle to short. Instead of showing the ball, the short stop, and the throw, the camera follows the runner on his way to first. My hangover was glad I wasn't in the hot stands, though, and when another rain delay came, I was very glad I could watch the remainder of the game unfold on Gameday. Diablos coming back from 10-6 down to win 14-13.