Why I went to work Tuesday
I got the news when I was 35,000 feet up in the air on my way to New York. On my way to a big series with the Yankees, because every series in the ballpark in the Bronx feels big.
Headline: Explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Suddenly the series with the Yankees felt small.
Watching the news coverage that night in my hotel room I couldn’t get my mind around it. Three people dead, one of them an 8-year-old, whose 6-year-old sister lost her leg in the explosion. Lives shattered, ripped apart.
The questions begin to fly through the mind — How does this happen? How could someone do such a thing? — and then heart aches for the people killed and the loved ones who are left behind to try and somehow pick up the pieces.
And so I woke up Tuesday and wondered. Why go to the ballpark tonight? For a baseball game? Who cares?
And then I thought of Jack, as passionate a baseball fan as there is. He lives in China now, but he still follows the D-backs staying up late (or is it getting up early?) to watch their games. He needs these games to stay connected to his home to stay connected to his country.
There’s Jenny in San Francisco, her body confined to a wheelchair, but her passion for the game knowing no limits. She’s always got questions about why certain decisions are made and somebody needs to get the answers.
There’s Lubo here in New York. Sure he says he’s sworn off the D-backs since the Justin Upton trade, but judging by his interest level I have my doubts about that.
And there’s a 9-year-old in Phoenix, who is trying to make sense of what he sees on the news. He loves when I send pictures of the ballparks I visit. I can’t disappoint him.
I could go on and on.
But it reminds me again of baseball’s importance. Not because the games in and of themselves mean anything, but because of what they provide people — a way of dealing with the stresses and sometimes tragedies in their own lives.
I go to the ballpark and I talk with pitcher Ian Kennedy, who heard about the Boston bombings when his wife, Allison, called him.
“My thoughts and prayers are really, really with them,” Kennedy told me. “Allison and I prayed for them. It was all we could do.”
But it’s not all he will do, not really.
He went through his between-start routine Tuesday. He will do so again Wednesday and Thursday. There will be video study as well and scouting reports to pore over. And then, Friday, he will take the mound at Coors Field against the Rockies and give everything he has in pursuit of a victory.
Why? Because it will mean something to baseball fans. It will mean something to someone who drafted him on his Fantasy League team. Because it could bring a smile to someone’s face somewhere. Because it is a gift to be able to throw the ball like he does so he will share it with the rest of the world.
I can’t throw the ball like he can, but I have the privilege of access to places that fans cannot go. It is my job to be your eyes and ears and to provide you with information and make you smile.
No, it’s not as important as the emergency workers, who rushed to help the victims Monday. It’s not as vital as the runners, who continued to run to local Boston hospitals to donate blood in the aftermath.
But it’s my role, it’s my contribution, my one stitch in the fabric that makes up this country. It’s what I have to give and so I treat it as though it is important.
That’s why I went to work Tuesday.
And why I will again today.
Thanks for reading.