While not necessarily falling at the zenith of the season, this week marks the traditional midway point of the MLB regular season; the All-Star Break. It includes the time-honored tradition of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, all culminating in the 87th MLB All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. During this four-day-long excruciating hiatus without any meaningful baseball (but this one counts!) the 89.5% of MLB players who aren’t All-Stars take this time to go on vacation while the rest head to San Diego for this “showcase”.
Last night in the seventh inning of Game 1 against the Phillies, Philadelphia starter Jeremy Hellickson lost control of a pitch that struck reigning MVP Bryce Harper squarely on the outside of his right knee. The collective beating heart of NatsTown skipped multiple beats as the left-handed slugger stood there while Dusty Baker and head trainer Paul Lessard examined Harper, finally escorting him to first. Things would not improve from there. Continue Reading Deep Breaths for Bryce Harper
Baseball is tradition in my family.
My father played baseball throughout high school and into college. My mother would sneak away from her two sisters to watch baseball games with her father, all while keeping score. My brother and I both played competitive baseball through high school before taking our talents to slow pitch softball.
Traditionally baseball is a game between fathers and sons (as evidenced by the myriad of baseball movies focused on that relationship) which is one of the things that made yesterday’s Max Scherzer no-hitter all the more special. Max’s parents Brad and Jan decided to make the trek to DC for Father’s Day weekend to see him pitch in person for just the second time in a Nationals uniform and they sure picked the right game. Getting to see your son throw his first no hitter must’ve been the thrill of a lifetime and the best possible gift Brad could’ve received.
For me however, the game was bittersweet.
Baseball is and has always been a huge part of my family life – growing up there were practices, games, catch in the back yard, unraveling a baseball to see what was inside, trips to the Kingdome for Jay Buhner shave-your-head night, camps, injuries, trips, soft toss, pepper, and everything else that could ever happen with a baseball focus. Needless to say my entire family was over the moon at the end of 2004 season when Bud Selig announced that the Montreal Expos would be moving to DC effective immediately. Everything was fantastic and I would once again have a team to pour my heart and soul into.
Later that offseason, before the Washington Nationals even reported to Viera for the first time as a DC baseball club, my father passed away of a sudden heart attack at age 49. Life grew dark and hope was nonexistent.
Then, like it does every year, spring arrived and with it baseball. My perspective on life had changed drastically, and things were never really going to be the same for me, but baseball remained constant. It took me years to climb out of the fog but every step of the way there were family baseball moments; Zim’s 4th of July walkoff, Opening Night of Nats Park, Zim’s Mother’s Day Walkoff, Marquis giving up 7 runs without recording a single out, Randy Johnson winning his 300th game. The pain went from raw to dull over time but along the way baseball played its part and brought my family through, giving us something to bond over to get through the darkest of times. Which brings me back to yesterday.
As I was sitting in the stands with my best friend of almost eighteen years watching Max Scherzer throw his first career no-hitter in front of his father on Father’s Day weekend I was overcome with emotion, not only because it was my first career no-no but because of my family. My mother texted me after the game and told me that seeing a no-hitter in person was one of the few things my father never got to experience and that it was fitting that I got to experience it on this Father’s Day weekend; for him. I’m not much for coincidences, I believe everything happens for a reason – I was meant to be in the park yesterday for history on Father’s Day weekend receiving this gift from my father.
As I go forward in 2015 I will be welcoming a son of my own into the world this November and as much as I wish that I could have three generations of MacHenry men watching a future no-hitter at Nats Park, I take so much joy in the fact that I will be able to share it with the rest of my family. Because after all, baseball doesn’t have to be just a father-son thing – it’s a family thing.