In lieu of throwing any more fuel onto the fine fabulous furry freakout fire that is social media today )DACA! WALL! TRUMP! SCHUMER! PELOSI! ANTIDISESTABLISHMENTARIANISM! Okay, I might have thrown that last one in there) let’s talk sports in a way even the asporting, this being to athletic competition what apolitical is for those not giving a hoot about government machinations, can appreciate. Or at least tolerate.
Yesterday, the Oakland Athletics, better known as the Oakland A’s, announced the selection of a preferred location for their much-needed new ballpark. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin in 2021 with occupancy in 2023. This might seem like an inordinately lengthy timespan, but given the need to buy and clear the property, deal with the NIMBYs living nearby plus the ninnys in local government – pardon the redundancy – plus all the usual California ridiculousness, it’s a decent plan.
The A’s have for years done everything wrong while trying to get a new ballpark: begging for government funding, looking to move elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, and crying poor with ownership that had more money than Bill Gates’ piggy bank. Recently, changes have been made, with a new point man Dave Kaval put in charge. And oh, what a difference a Dave makes: major community outreach, major dressing up the perilously close to crumbling Oakland Coliseum, and a promise to the A’s longsuffering fan base that yes, we’ll stop always trading in lieu of resigning our young talent when they hit their stride. The Bat Pack, as A’s 110% made of awesome beat reporter Susan Slusser has dubbed the freshfaced crop of kids led by developing superstud third baseman Matt Chapman, will be breaking pitchers hearts and blasting homers for years to come. In new digs.
The veteran Christian arena rock band Petra once sang, “Good things come to those who wait / Not to those who hesitate / So hurry up and wait upon the Lord.” While baseball, its most fervent fans notwithstanding, is not comparable with faith in Christ on the importance list, there is a valuable lesson here. Put simply, it is this: in so many areas of life, momentary matters far too often are subjected to urgent tyranny rather than patient, encompassing thought.
Yes, it has taken a painfully long time to get to yesterday’s announcement regarding a new ballpark. Yes, it will seem like an eternity sweating out every step until construction starts. But it will happen. Baseball, the great American constant, will continue in Oakland as it has for forty-nine years.
The memories of victories and defeats, the last game I attended with my beloved beyond words late father; these will carry on. The empty feeling of sitting in the Coliseum stands after what turned out to be the 1994 season’s last game before the strike, when the A’s were for sale and their future in Oakland anything but certain, wondering if this would be the last time I would ever see my team … that feeling I will cheerfully forever banish.
Really, people who live on the eternal ragged edge, forever frothing and foaming at the mouth at every turn of the political wind. Will you relax? Very, very little is decided in an instant in politics or anywhere else. Breathe. Relax. Let it slide. Far more often than not, it will end up sliding in safe at home. So let it be.
And let’s play ball.