A River Ran Through It
I wandered down to the ballpark yesterday. Nothing better to do.
Two years ago at about this point of the season Iowa and Memphis hooked up with a division title and playoff spot on the line. Yesterday they took the field a combined 64 games below .500.
Standing out in the center field picnic concourse I gazed across the street at what remains of the Des Moines River after a severe drought. Kids were using the middle of it for a sandbox. Hard to believe this puddle flooded Sec Taylor Field more than once in recent years. Yesterday it struck me as the perfect metaphor for the 2012 Chicago/Iowa Cubs.
A decent crowd shuffled in on a comfortable day as the club again inches toward the 500,000 mark for season attendance in this the final home stand of the year. But nobody’s heart was in it. I could plainly hear a peanut vendor working the GA section in the left field corner. We could have had a conversation, no cell phones required. A group in that bank of otherwise empty seats clad in yellow t-shirts resembled the last kernels on a mostly eaten cob of corn.
Rizzo, Jackson and Vitters are gone, leaving behind a rotting carcass of I-Cubs. Not that the team was flying high with them on the roster, but it’s more interesting to watch a bunch of up-and-comers than a patchwork of refugees from the independent leagues, many of whom aren’t even on first name bases with one another. They come and they go. Only the uniforms remain the same.
In the bottom of the 1st with two aboard Greg Rohan got down a couple of quick strikes and started fouling off pitch after pitch. The PA blared a couple bars of “Stayin’ Alive” and then abruptly shut it off. Nobody gave a damn. Then, sudden as a siren in church, Rohan reached out and banged one the other way, a three-run homer that rattled off the metal bleachers to my left and beneath the right-field scoreboard. There was a ballgame going on.
I didn’t stay long, just long enough to be reminded of what I’ll be missing all winter, starting a week from today.