I kept my promise; we made it to the game —
the next-to-last home game
of the regular season.
Dads know the importance of keeping promises,
especially to daughters who like just about
anything more than baseball.
Batting practice landed us a baseball souvenir.
Giveaway night earned us stocking hats.
Hot dogs and Dr Pepper were dinner fare.
A janitor gifted us a cleaned out nacho helmet.
“This is pretty fun, Dad.”
The trek to the upper deck was slow and painful,
thanks to a gimpy ankle.
A young fan shouts, “Play ball!”
she, in all of her innocence and baseball ignorance,
dares to make her prediction,
“The Royals are gonna win Dad.”
“That’s what we’re hoping.”
“No, Dad. The Royals are gonna win
the last game of the season.”
“Oh, that’s not until next week.
They finish the season playing in Minnesota.”
Eye roll and a huffy breath.
Sometimes I’m slow.
The last game of the season.
We’re gonna do it this year, I just know.”
I listened and nodded and patted her softly on the back.
“You just wait, Dad. I’m going to be right.”
I wrote a note on my scorecard.
The Royals lost that game, 9 – 5.
We kept the baseball and helmet and stocking hats
and tossed the scorecard in the trash.
Twelve games later, on Columbus Day,
as the away team,
the Royals faced elimination
against the Wild Card-winning Astros.
With six outs remaining, losing 6 – 2,
Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated.
“Congrats to the Astros on
advancing to the ALCS!. Hoping for an
all-Texas ALCS. Looking at you Rangers.”
Heartbroken, I was ready to tip my hat
to the feisty south Texas team.
“They can still win, Dad.”
I smiled weakly, wishing I had her faith.
“We can still cheer with all our hearts,” I replied.
The odds of winning hovered at three percent.
Later reports say Mike Moustakas shouted in the dugout,
“I’m not ready to go home yet!”
Five singles, one error, one strikeout,
one walk, a groundout and —
forty minutes later! —
the Royals took the lead.
“I knew they could do it.”
Another twelve games passed.
Again, single digit odds of victory
as the away team.
A mad dash followed by
a 12th inning frenzy
and the Royals won the
last game of the season.
She was right.