by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.
I should have used these two words in my original piece, “Of Viruses and Late-Inning Rallies.” Instead, I went with “believe,” which isn’t a bad choice. But there’s something deeper with “faith.”
It’s a big word. It brings God into the picture. And, given the situation we are facing in the world, that’s who we need right now.
I write two blogs. The initial article appeared in my baseball blog, Put-the-tag-on-m as well as the Chadron Record newspaper. After a 9-year hiatus, I’ve decided to bring that blog back during this time of crisis.
As for Faith Checks (the name of this blog), maybe the revision will be call for resurrection.
Here’s the rewrite:
This is a story about faith, a softball ball story from 1979 in Flagstaff, Arizona.
I was the northern Arizona regional salesman working out of, what the firm called, a “country office” in an old hotel. From a less-than-lavish suite three floors up, I sketched business forms, the kind with pieces of carbon in between multi-layered sheets of paper.
There, inside the supposedly-haunted Monte Vista Hotel, the same place known for bygone movie greats, I crafted purchase orders and restaurant checks. I was especially good with utility bills, the kind with directions stating, “Grasp here and gently snap.”
Despite the ceiling leaks, a slow-running clock and eerily creaking floorboards, it was a good job – with perks: I knew the shoeshine guy in the lobby and the bartender downstairs who always tossed me quarters for the jukebox.
I had moved up to Flagstaff from Phoenix during the winter and was itching to play ball that summer. Fairly new to Flag, however, and not knowing many people, I put an ad in the newspaper seeking players. To my astonishment, twenty guys showed up for the first practice. Aside from two brothers, nobody else knew each other.
As it turned out, we morphed into a pretty darn good team. Well… we won more than we lost, a little better than .500. The game I want to share with you, however, is one that most players on that Moore Business Forms team have probably (and gladly) forgotten over the years. But I remember it only too well.
It was against the last-place team on the last game of the season. Every club in the league had pounded them, running up football-like scores. And, we were on the verge of doing the same. Up by eleven, I was on the mound under the lights arcing unhittable high ones all night – until the last inning.
That’s when the other guys started to believe, when faith entered the room. Their comeback was quick and electric. It was unlike any rally I had ever seen. There was no derailing them. When the winning run scored, it was as if a loose boxcar from the city’s train depot rolled right over us. With our pride flattened, we walked off the field in foggy, slow-motion disbelief.
To this day, I can still see the mob scene at home plate.
So, why the story? Why now?
We are on a team that hasn’t had a win all season. We’re being pounded mercilessly by a bully, a rogue virus that won’t quit.
We need a spark, an answered prayer. We need a late-inning rally, a come-from-behind shocker to grasp and not-so-gently snap its ghostly neck.
Have faith… just like those guys swarming the plate did so long ago.
In time, it’ll happen – a world-class mob scene (albeit social distancing). You know and I know it will happen.
And, when it does, I’ve got a quarter or two left over for an ancient jukebox.
If interested check out my baseball blog: