Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Recurring Dream, As Rejected By Newsday

Here’s a train story that’s sort of a train story.  It actually reads more like a “Wonder Years” episode, but I like it and thought I'd share.  Newsday rejected it, but I hope you enjoy it.

I am a baseball fan.  Love everything about the game.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I don't like Alex Rodriguez, never did.  I don't like huge multi-year contracts, because the players always crumble long before the deals expire.  I don't like the DH, because I believe each position player is supposed to take his hacks.  I’m not sure about instant replay, so I won’t comment on that.  But other than those things, I love everything about the game.

As a kid, I was a huge Yankee fan.  My Dad would sometimes take me to night games.  We'd get to Yankee Stadium early, so we could go down to the seats near the field and watch batting practice.  We'd call out to our favorite players, and sometimes get their autographs.  I yelled to pretty much every player.  I even yelled to the bat boys.  If opposing team players were on the field, I'd yell to them, too.  In those years I knew all their names.

One time at the ballpark with my Dad, I was calling out to players from the stands.  "Goose! Goose!  Throw me a ball!" I screamed to Rich "Goose" Gossage, the Yankees' star relief pitcher.  Most of the time, the players ignored us, but somehow I caught Goose's attention.

He turned and looked at me.  He showed me a ball and tossed it underhanded toward me.  I was star struck.  The ball bounced off my chest as I stood there in disbelief that he threw me a ball.  Someone else got the ball, and I got this story.

Frankly, if that's my worst regret in life, I've done pretty well for myself.  But it is one of those childhood things that I'll never forget.

This story has been the subject of a recurring dream for me.  Some people have nightmares that they aren't prepared for an exam.  Some have nightmares that they go to class in their underwear.  Me? I dream about almost catching a ball at a baseball game.  To this day, I've never caught a foul ball.  Catching a ball is a bucket list item for me.  When it finally happens, I think the dreams will stop.

Here’s the train part.

The other day, I fell asleep on the train heading into NY.  And there was the dream.  I was standing on a big league field, and saw Wade Boggs, who played mostly for the Red Sox but came to the Yankees in the mid-90s and had a few good years.  I called out, "Boggs! throw me a ball!"  He rolled the ball to me, and it rolled short.  My feet were planted on the ground and would not move to go get the ball.  Not again! Before I could call back to him to throw it to me again, I was woken up by "We are now arriving at Penn Station, please take all of your belongings when exiting the train."

I'll get that ball.  One day, I'll get that ball Goose threw to me.  I was meant to have it.  And it will happen before my train reaches its final destination.

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