The Royals lost their third straight game to start the 2018 season which felt perfectly like a Monday. Also perfectly Monday, three months after my first game of catch with Andrew, the weather wasn’t any better.
Andrew (Day #4) met me at the Miracle League Field just two weeks prior to their Opening Day.
Forty degrees and a thick fog weren’t the best conditions for playing catch on the artificial field. Shoes slid and the ball skipped off the surface instead of taking normal bounces.
Where are you Spring?
Andrew brought Lucas, his 8-year old freckled son who reminded me of his dad when his dad was that age.
Andrew and I used to go to church together. I remember him sitting behind me and following me to load up on donut holes after the service. A couple months after Jamie and I got married, Andrew invited me to his birthday party at Hydra-Slide. If memory serves me correctly, Jamie and I both attended the party.
Lucas is a brilliant and soft-spoken boy — a fan of the Cardinals, of course, and a big fan of Yadi Molina. Lucas also loves basketball and wants to be an artist when he grows up. He loves to make drawings. I’ve seen some of his art posted by his parents on Facebook and he’s got serious skills. This world needs more artists. I’ll do anything I can to encourage him to continue to make art for the rest of his life.
For thirty minutes, the three of us had a great time in the fog, sliding on the slick surface and throwing balls that felt more or less snot covered. Andrew’s first baseman’s mitt was perfect for picking short hops off the field. We took a picture and prepared to leave, until Lucas convinced us to stay and keep playing.
There was still a fraction of daylight left. I joined in wholeheartedly.
And then I made a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad throw. The ball just slipped coming off my fingers and caught Lucas square on his hand. He wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting it.
I know Lucas’s hand hurt. He burst out into tears. I thought I was going to puke.
After the tears settled, I visited with him in the back seat of his car. I think I apologized about twenty times, and still feel like I need to apologize another thirty thousand or so.
We made a deal: The three of us would meet again in three months to celebrate Andrew’s birthday and I’d take us all out for Andy’s Frozen Custard afterwards.
Moments after pulling out of the parking lot, I pulled over and texted Andrew.
“I feel awful. I am so sorry.”
A couple minutes later, my phone vibrated several times in a row. The text response was from Lucas.
It was a drawing of a baseball.
“It is okay. I forgive you.”
Jim “The Rookie” Morris is right.
There is crying in baseball.