Hurricanes & Yankees

They should have named the Hurricane A-Rod.  Then it wouldn’t have hit anything.  ~ “Hurricane Sandy” joke making the rounds on Twitter yesterday.

Sandy Alomar, by the way, batted .273 during his 19 years in the major leagues. (Alex Rodriguez – A-Rod – of the Yankees is at .295 for his career, despite his icy-cold bat, and benching, this post-season.)

I’d hate to be a New York Yankee. No one likes you. Not even your own fans. I’ve never heard fans so quick to boo, heckle, and denounce their own players. They heckle better than anyone. And, they do it without throwing garbage and beer bottles out into the field (hear that, Atlanta?).

Did you know that the Yankees tagline is “Heroes Remembered. Legends Born”?

Yankees fans are sort of funny about their team. When they win, they’re still not happy; it should have been bigger, it should have been better. Their record 27 World Series victories? Too few.

When they lose (and they do lose from time to time), it’s as though they rival the Cubs in futility. It’s as though they will never win again. Every loss is a hollow cry of despair.

And, really, they have no idea.  NO idea.

When the Orioles lost Game #5 of the American League Division Series in early October, it was well past midnight before they got back to Baltimore. They were met at the stadium by hundreds – hundreds – of loyal fans (layered up against unseasonably cold weather) who showed up to say “Thanks” “Good Job” and “We love you.”

It’s a wonderful moment. You can watch it here.

I wonder if the Yankees came back after losing the pennant to Detroit to find their cars torched, their apartments ransacked, and their supermodel girlfriends gone?

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How To Enjoy Your Next Rain Delay

APRIL 2016 UPDATE! Wondering about the rules governing rain delays? How long will yours last? Will your rain delay ever end? (Yes.) For my April 2016 update & all your questions answered, click here: “Your Rain Delay Companion”

Rain delays, I’ve discovered, are even more like Yoga than an actual baseball game.

You have to create your own focus. You have to slow yourself down. Way down. You have to be in the moment and you have to be patient.

The Sunday night Orioles-Yankees game came with a bonus 2-1/2-hour rain delay. That’s a lot of just standing around. Did I mention it was barely 50 degrees out?

Fun Fact: Rain Delays don’t last forever. Fun Fact #2: Rally Towels are very absorbent.

The dynamics of some 48,000 people hunkered under the concourses, killing time, would be a great sociological experiment. For the record, 48,000 people in one place is about 5x the population of the county I live in.

So, here’s what you can do during your next 2-1/2-hour rain delay:

* You can drink.  I wouldn’t advise it, but you can do it.  You can drink a lot in 2-1/2 hours. You will be incredibly entertaining and funny for the first hour. After that, you’ll be shunned, even by the people you came with.

* You can do a scientific jersey count poll. In this practice, you count the players represented on jerseys as they pass by. For the person wearing the Adam Jones jersey who walked back and forth several times – nice try, buddy, we only counted you once. We decided that pitchers are underrepresented on jerseys. We also discovered that a player can be long gone, long-ago traded to another team, or just faded into the annals of “wait, who? Doesn’t he work at the car shop downtown?”, but if you spent $100 on a replica jersey 10 years ago, you’ll wear it anyway.

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“That Ball’s Gone, By The Way”

Baseball doesn’t change much. The rules you learn in Little League are pretty much the ones that will get you to – and keep you in – the Big Leagues. And, one of the most important rules is this: Keep Your Eyes On The Ball.

Whether you’re batting, or fielding, or even if you’re just watching a game.  In Yoga, this concentrated, focused gaze is called Drishti.

So, the Orioles won last night, 1-0, over the Tampa Bay Rays, thanks to a Homeric homer by RF Chris Davis.  (He’s homered in six straight games, an O’s record.)

Use your Drishti … Watch it here.

Post-game attention quickly shifted to New York where the Red Sox led the Yankees going into the 9th. A Red Sox win would be good news for the O’s who still don’t know where their post-season game will be or whom they will play.

But, the comfy Red Sox lead evaporated as the Yankees rallied in the bottom of the 9th.

The Oriole fans on Twitter would have been hand-wringing, if they weren’t madly tweeting their anguish. (What I learned reading Twitter last night: You can fit a lot of creative curse words into 140 characters.)

Meanwhile, back at The Trop in Tampa … Orioles’ hero Chris Davis was being interviewed by MASN broadcaster Jim Hunter, while the Yankees game played on a TV in the background.

Chris took his Little League training to heart – he kept his eyes on the ball over at Yankee Stadium, all the while giving a nice, chatty interview. The best part – and why I love it and am sharing it – comes when, not missing a beat, he quickly and nonchalantly calls the homerun that ties the game for the Yankees, and then goes right back to the interview.

It’s around the 1:48 mark. Watch it here.

No anguish from Chris. Instead, he reminds us that that there’s no hand-wringing required when an exciting play is unfolding.

The Yankees won, by the way. Making tonight’s games even more important for the O’s. Keep your eyes on the ball.

I fell in & out of love with baseball …

I fell in love with baseball.  I fell out of love with baseball.  I fell back in love with baseball.

And, over the years I discovered that baseball was a lot like the other things that sustained me … the Yoga, the meditation, the mindfulness of being present, right here, right now.   It may not mean anything to anyone else.  But, it all weaves together and it’s the stillness, and mindfulness, and, yes, even the oft-time unending slowness of this simple sport that seems to have a lot in common with my Yoga mat.

Just like my Yoga practice … a baseball fan sits and watches and waits for something to happen.  Trying to enjoy the present moment, even when there’s no exciting “action” to hang onto.  It is the sitting and watching that IS the bliss.  True fans know that.

Occasionally, your Yoga practice is upended by a burst of Samadhi — that purest of bliss, however fleeting.  Those fleeting moments are like the moments of action in a baseball game.  Having watched … and waited … there comes a moment of athletic beauty the blossoms out of a play in the outfield, or a baseball is hit way into the stands, or a pitcher simply, smoothly, effortlessly, fires a fastball right by a batter for strike 3.  But, those moments of baseball Samadhi are just that … moments.  And, then the quiet and the waiting and the watching begins again.  The stillness.

I don’t play.  I’m just a fan.

It’s who I am.  And, I like to type words which is sometimes thought of as writing, but often is just typing.  But, I thought, why not type about baseball?  And, Yoga.  And, Zen.  And, me.

When I’m not scoring games, watching games, checking out an arcane baseball stat, or reading about the history of baseball, … or unrolling my own Yoga mat in search of bliss in my practice … I’m a Yoga instructor and a massage therapist.

And, in case you’re wondering … I bleed Orange & Black.  That’s for the Orioles.  But, I bleed a little on the side for the Giants.  So, I can see the Yogic appeal of having a DH … or not.  And, I married a Yankees fan … which shows my capacity for understanding and compassion.  Although I have been able to squeeze a bit of Orange & Black out of him in recent years.

In any event, I don’t know if anyone will ever see this … or read a single word.  I don’t have any clue where this will go, or if it will stall out like other blogs that come from a person’s real passion, but never quite make the transition onto a page.

But, to see baseball and Yoga on the same page makes me feel very happy indeed.   And, if you did find this and read this far … Namasté!