owlmoose: Picture of MLB pitchers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain (baseball - pitchers)
KJ ([personal profile] owlmoose) wrote2017-10-01 10:59 pm
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Something on Sunday: Thanks for the memories

Earlier this week, the always-marvelous [twitter.com profile] readingtheend aka Jenny proposed a simple idea to promote more community and sharing on blogs: "Something on Sunday"

The only guidelines are that you write about something that kept you on your feet that week, whether that’s a person that inspired you, an action you took that you’re proud of, a book or movie or TV show that nourished your heart, a self-care strategy that worked for you, a goofy event or moment that brought you joy. Whatever it is, every Sunday, I want you to tell me something that matters to you.

I think this is brilliant. And I'm always looking for routes back into long-form blogging, because I love it, and I miss it, and although my track record with keeping up on projects like this is poor, I'm going to at least give it a try. Sunday afternoons and evenings are often a good opportunity for me to plan writing time -- it's usually when I do my [community profile] ladybusiness work for the week -- so I can be hopeful!

There is no question what I will pick as my inspiration this week: baseball. The San Francisco Giants had a truly wretched season this year -- they lost almost 100 games and ended up with their second-worst record in the last century -- and I admit I didn't follow quite as closely as usual because it was so frustrating. But last week, Matt Cain announced in a team meeting that this season would be his last. He was scheduled to start yesterday, and within a few minutes of hearing the news, it occurred to me to check for tickets. I got lucky: two excellent seats for a very reasonable price. Since T is still out of town, I asked around friends and family, and my cousin L was able to join me. We went to the game, and even though the Giants lost, it was an excellent and memorable experience.

Matt Cain has been one of my most beloved baseball players for many years, since he came up in 2004, only 20 years old, and developed into the brightest spot on a mediocre team -- Barry Bonds was on his way out, Buster Posey was still a few years away, and the team couldn't score a run to save their life. But Cain kept plugging away, putting in solid-to-brilliant starts and taking losses for his trouble (his final win-loss record, just a hair below .500, is not at all representative of his talent). And he never complained: not to the media, not within the baseball community, and by all accounts not in private either. His nickname was The Horse, because he took the heavy load and kept on going. And then, suddenly, a few years before anyone was really expecting it, the rest of the team around him caught fire and kept going, winning three World Series in five years. Cain was a big part of the 2010 team's success, but 2012 was his year: that was the year of the perfect game, and he started the All-Star Game, and put some brilliant playoff performances, and if he hadn't already been beloved, this was the year that would cement him as a legend in franchise history.

But no sports career lasts forever, and Cain's downhill slide began not long after. He missed much of 2014, including all of the playoffs, due to injury; he had elbow surgery that offseason and was never quite the same pitcher again. His contract is up this year, and rather than try to pull it back together with another team, he's decided to call it a career, and retire a life-long Giant. And who can blame him? It's hard work, and he has young kids, and although sometimes older players get lucky when they try to reinvent themselves, the odds are long. I'm so glad that it worked out for him to pitch one last time in front of the home fans. He made it through the fifth inning, and when he walked off the mound for the last time, met manager Bruce Bochy at the top of the stairs, and shook his hand, then hugged him, the wave of love and support and appreciation was so amazing. It even comes through on the video, how much Matt Cain means not only to the fans but to his teammates. The San Jose Mercury News has a good story about the game itself, and Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles (my favorite Giants blog) does a better job than me of explaining why Matt Cain means so much to the Giants fandom. I'm so fortunate that I was able to be there, and that my cousin was there to share the moment with me.
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)

[personal profile] lassarina 2017-10-12 12:24 am (UTC)(link)
It actually was via plurk!

It's so lovely that he stayed in the city, too. in the old days, when Joe Gibbs coached the Washington football team, he made it a contractual requirement that his players live there in the off-season. That sort of thing doesn't happen these days.