Lessons in Perspective

One of the many things you learn playing baseball – perhaps playing any sport – is to accept what is out of your control. Sometimes the ball has eyes and finds the gap. Sometimes you hit into a double play with the bases loaded.

I went 0-fo-5 yesterday after a good game at the plate on Opening Day. But believe me when I tell you there was no difference – meaning that I wasn’t “on” one day and “off” the next. I felt good last night. I hit the ball well. Some days it goes right at people. Some days it gets through.

That’s baseball. A few inches one way or the other, and it’s a different game. Randy Johnson’s pitch to Gallardo last night, for example. We wanted a fastball higher than the letters on his chest so he would chase it for the third strike. The ball wasn’t as high as it needed to be. That kid is a good hitter, too, don’t forget. But if the pitch is just a little bit higher, we get him.

This game so often comes down to the slightest of margins, the tiniest bits of bad luck.

To tell you the truth, I never thought we were out of it last night. I always expected we’d come back. But we’re going to have many more chances, so you can’t dwell on what didn’t work for us last night. You have to just get ready for today’s game.

As for Tim on Opening Day, I was thinking he might have a tough day even when we were warming up in the bullpen. When he walked the first batter and hit the third, I went out to talk to him. I’m not going to tell him anything about mechanics, of course.

“Keep battling,” I said. “Keep grinding it out. You’re going to get out of it.”

He didn’t have command of his fastball or his curveball. Usually if one isn’t working, he has the other. But people have to remember this kid is a human being. He’s not a machine. I admired how he kept fighting out there. That’s one of the beautiful things about baseball. The days when you really aren’t at the top of your game are the days when you test yourself the most. Those are the days you earn your money.

And afterward I told Tim that sometimes you need to struggle to come back stronger. You have to keep it all in perspective, too, which is tougher when you’re young. There are way more important things to worry about than giving up some walks or going 0-for-5.

Today was the worst kind of reminder of that. I keep thinking about Nick Adenhart, the young Angels pitcher killed by a drunk driver last night. It’s the kind of news that gives you the chills. Makes you shake. We’re playing a game, but once those lights go out in the ballpark, it’s real life out there. I keep thinking how you can be doing everything 100 percent right, but some other guy right next to you isn’t doing the right thing and you pay the price.

I keep thinking that if Adenhart’s car had entered the intersection two seconds earlier or two seconds later, maybe he goes home thinking about his next start.

The slightest of margins, the tiniest bits of bad luck.

11 Comments

Bengie – tragedies like this remind us how fragile life is. Nick loved this crazy game we call America’s Pasttime. We can honor him by taking solace in the game. My Red Sox start a three game series with the Angels tomorrow night. It will be difficult – but we must go on. Take care of yourself. And good luck. I will keep all of you – and all of us – in my prayers.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Benjie-Life sometimes seems to be a game of inches, as is baseball-Kruk and Kuip like to say that. What a mixed bag it is. After today’s really good game, to have Joe Martinez hit and hurt is just awful. My thoughts and prayers are with him and with all of you. Head injuries are so scary. In another vein, I’m so glad you are blogging, and you guys really look good, and I am glad Baseball is back! And congratulations on your new expectation to your family. what if you have to play during the All-Star break? wouldn’t that be something!

lilhmb

Hey Bengie great blog. I really believe that everything happens for a reason and everyone has their time to go. You just hope that when these things happen they are for the right reasons. But when someone passes on at this age it is always tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with Nick and his family. By the way great series versus the Brewers…keep it up and GO GIANTS!!!!

Hey Bengie great blog. I really believe that everything happens for a reason and everyone has their time to go. You just hope that when these things happen they are for the right reasons. But when someone passes on at this age it is always tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with Nick and his family. By the way great series versus the Brewers…keep it up and GO GIANTS!!!!

Hi Bengie,

(Actually, that would an interesting point to blog about briefly–us fans grow up watching the players, and picking up their nicknames without actually knowing them–is it weird to be called “Bengie” by someone you don’t know?)

I just wanted to thank you for your writing–baseball is a career for a few, and the purest joy for 3 hours every day for so many. Please do keep up the regular updates! Connecting to the players like this brings us as close to the dream we all had as kids of playing under the lights as we can get. All of us in San Francisco are proud to have you here, and are cheering on all the Giants for the effort and heart!

I’m a 23 year old average guy in the bay area here, and normally am jumping up and down as excited as anyone about a Giants win, but obviously the events last night and then this afternoon to Joe are very sombering. It’s just a game, but it’s a game that means so much to everyone, thus the emotion and prayers from all of us for both Joe and the family and friends of Nick Adenhart.

This post could not have come at a better time. After the tragic death of Nick Adenheart and Joe Martinez’s scary injury, it really is important to remember to put everything in perspective. Thanks so much for keeping us updated, Bengie. I really hope Joe is OK.
Lauren

Hi Bengie,
Cool blog! You are very wise, putting life into perspective like that. I’m so glad that you are on my team!
Go Giants!

I was saddened to hear of Nick’s death. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the dangers of drunk driving…and as a reminder that life is short. We never know how long we will have. My prayers are with the family.

– Hope you have a great season, Bengie. It’s hard being a Giants fan down here in LA, but as long as you keep winning they can’t talk smack!🙂 Good luck! And congrats on the new on-the-way baby.🙂

I was saddened to hear of Nick’s death. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the dangers of drunk driving…and as a reminder that life is short. We never know how long we will have. My prayers are with the family.

– Hope you have a great season, Bengie. It’s hard being a Giants fan down here in LA, but as long as you keep winning they can’t talk smack!🙂 Good luck! And congrats on the new on-the-way baby.🙂

I was saddened to hear of Nick’s death. I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the dangers of drunk driving…and as a reminder that life is short. We never know how long we will have. My prayers are with the family.

– Hope you have a great season, Bengie. It’s hard being a Giants fan down here in LA, but as long as you keep winning they can’t talk smack!🙂 Good luck! And congrats on the new on-the-way baby.🙂

Hi Bengie, Your insight is amazing. It is definetely at times like these that we are reminded how precious life is. We should live each day as if it were going to be our last. I hope you have a great season!

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