When I was young, but not so young that I didn’t know better, but, still, decades ago, I backed my mom’s beloved Chevy Suburban through the garage door.
It may not be the most embarrassing thing I’ve done in my life, but it is the one that I can think of right now.
It was not a good day. The electric garage door was mid-open when, in a hurry, I backed through it, wedging the door against the top of the car and the garage ceiling, mangling the door opener gears that were still grinding away, and bending the track. I had crushed things so tightly together that I could not back out or in without destroying the frame of the garage or taking the top of the Suburban clean off.
It took the better part of an afternoon to peel everything apart.
It was not inexpensive.
Amazingly … amazingly, then and amazingly, today … my parents didn’t get mad. Well, not mad on the outside anyway. Accidents happen, they figured, and no one got hurt.
(If you knew my parents, you would know that this was not their usual reaction to such things.)Embed from Getty Images
This brings me to the Baltimore Orioles Chris Davis who has spent many embarrassing moments lately not hitting a baseball in front of thousands of fans who expect more from a highly paid professional athlete.
Fifty four at bats without a hit … a streak of futility that stretched all the way back to last September. A streak of futility that is a major league record.
You don’t have to be an athlete to know how bad that is. And, how bad it must be to live out your embarrassment, over and over again, in front of thousands of people.
(You guys are among the first to know of my garage door caper. Embarrassing things, like jeans that no longer fit, are often hidden away deep into closets.)
There are a lot of unkind people on the Internet and many of them were especially unkind to Davis in the past couple weeks.
In 2016, the Orioles signed Davis to a $161-million deal that has many more years to play out.
Hey, if someone wants to pay you $161 million to play baseball, I would advise you to take it, too. But, it puts a little added pressure on you when things aren’t going so well.
Late in one of the games in Baltimore last week, when Davis was not playing and the game was lost, I heard fans start chanting for Chris. “We want Chris! We want Chris!”
I thought at first that they were being cruel, in that 21st-century ironic way that people sometimes are.
But, now I’ve changed my mind.
Now, I think the fans were cheering for Davis, so he could have another chance. So, he could break this damn foul embarrassing stink of futility. Because, wouldn’t you want another chance at bat?
That’s what he heard.
“It was a little unexpected, after Opening Day and most of the season last year, but it was awesome,” Davis told ESPN last week. “I hear the people every night, cheering for me, encouraging me, the guys and gals that sit down closer to the field, the ones that are more consistent in attendance. I hear the encouraging people trying to pick me up, and I’ve always been very appreciative of it.”
Sure, there were jerks, too. There are always jerks. But, Davis didn’t notice those.
“I’ve been here long enough, I’ve played for the Orioles long enough to know what kind of fan base we have, and to know that they support their players through good and bad. And that thought has kept me in a good state of mind throughout this whole thing.”
To hear the encouragement, while filtering out the jerks, is pretty good advice for all of us.
Yesterday afternoon in Boston, Chris Davis got a hit.
This one …Embed from Getty Images
And, another one.
And, another one.
Chris Davis went 3-for-5 with 4 RBI. That was the difference in the Orioles 9-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
(As for me, I’ve never backed a car through a garage door since.)
There’s not a whole lot to cheer for in Baltimore this season, so you have to find those moments of joy.
Yesterday was one of them.Embed from Getty Images