For the first time since Dewey beat Truman in that fateful Fall of ’48 (or ’84 or whenever it was), our intermittent diaspora took us to the lush green grasses of wondrous San Pablo Park. And honestly, I couldn’t be prouder of the community, for only three of our best didn’t pay attention and thus initially ended up at other fields. Even better, after only six codified exhortations to get to SP by 10:45, a full 10 of the 20 of you were there by 11:02, showing once again that nothing could be more deeply relaxing than running some corporate or governmental entity in which one gets to manage a few thousand people. That’s right, people, as in human beings and homo athletici in all their glory–– intriguing, defiant, and more fun to corral than a pungent herd of shrub-grazing goats.
Of course I’ve only been speaking of procedural issues on the margins, but at the core of this tale was a nail-biting game of rarefied aerobic drama right from the get-go. I refer you, of course, to the legendary Alan Miller, who, in his first league appearance in over 30 years, took off from the plate on an honorable 2nd-inning hopper to left, only to stumble into a tender yet unhelpful labial embrace of the rich infield clays below. For Chris Fure’s team, it was an inauspicious start for their eldest and most sagacious star, and yet in the unsightly calamity of the moment, the seeds of cyclical renewal were already busy being born (Fine, I like the Christian-era Dylan).
The point is that for both my side and Chris’, our fears of the new locale quickly dissipated in the draining evolution of the arduous innings that followed. Indeed, by the top of the 9th, the score was tied up at 14, but on a series of sublimely hit singles, we quickly scored two and were about to break it wide open when, as an earnest yet easily confuddled 3rd base coach, I sent Frank home on a 1-out hopper to left. In retrospect, the problem was that I sent the 32-year-old Frank onward, when, alas, it was the 46-year-old who panted into the plate a full 1.2 seconds after the ball, and for that, I justifiably blame the crass dynamics of gerontological physics.
Even worse, on the very next play, the inimitable Stefano Muscato––perhaps a decade longer in the tooth than Frank himself–– barreled past 3rd on his own rendezvous with destiny, and once again, orb trounced gams by at least a full second. Still, and to be clear, it wasn’t I who sent the impetuous MosquitoBoy to his rally-destroying demise, for he simply refused to stop. And thus as we took the field with a fragile 2-run lead in the bottom of the 9th, my conscience was clean, but I was also weary and frightened, and as I eyed the millennial core of Fure’s upcoming lineup, I couldn’t help but think that few things in nature suck more than aging.
Sure enough, Cameron and Jimmy Powers led Chris’ team to a one out tie and the hinge of fate, and then, as a San Pablo pileated woodpecker neighed nervously in the distance, the great Justin Miller, son of Alan, 28 years young and playing his first league game since he was half his age, blasted the walk off single to deep center right. For my own peeps, it was a bitter 17-16 lesson in the fragility of leads when they’re really fragile, but for the Millers, it was more than just a triumph of semantic tautology. Indeed, it was nothing less than the passing of the kinesiological baton to a new generation of potential Millarian dominance, for if biology has taught us anything, it’s that rare is the synergy of good genes, relative youth and the yearnful quest for indefinite familial bequeathment. And therefore there will be a game at Codornices this Sunday at 11, IF I get enough commits by this Friday morning . . . Ray