For one moment, I choose to forget.
I choose to forget the sub.-500 record, the black offense, anyone whose last name is McCourt. The empty seats in the stadium don’t reflect a depression – they’re just elbow room.
I choose for one moment to see the Dodgers as a complete blank slate, a team with its problems washed away, with every opportunity to define itself and its destiny.
This new team trails, 2-1, in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Juan Uribe and James Loney have led off the inning with singles. Jay Gibbons is the batter, and rather than fret, I choose to strip away layers and layers of pessimism.
Gibbons strikes out swinging.
It’s just one out, I say.
Big Rod Barajas takes a ball, then swings and fouls one back. A ball dips down at the plate for a 2-1 count, and then he fouls another pitch back, and then another. And then, he swings big and pops up to left field.
The tying run is still in scoring position. The pressure is still on Milwaukee. I am at one with possibilities.
Pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro steps to the plate, and I hone in on his pristine white uniform sleeve, with a memorial No. 4 patch honoring one of the best this franchise ever produced. Navarro has a batting average, but I don’t look at it. He’s in that uniform, and that’s good enough for me. Such a uniform.
Navarro takes a strike, then swings at a pitch near his shoetops and golfs it. I pray that perhaps we have switched to golf, and Navarro is laying a picture-perfect shot onto the green. But no, it’s still baseball. The soft looper lands in the shortstop’s glove.
Runners in scoring position, nobody out, and I told myself to believe. But looking back, I’m not sure I really did. It would have been a pleasant surprise, but a surprise just the same, had the Dodgers scored their second run of the game.