Sunday, April 15, 2012

Polly Will Be Signing Autographs Later

Maybe it was the massive American flag. Maybe it was the Air Force flyover during the National Anthem. Maybe it was the Phillies Phanatic dancing to "Proud Marry." Or maybe it was just getting to see Joe smile on the big screen at Citizens Bank Park, but I was completely swept away by the romanticism of baseball on April 9, 2012.
Don't worry, I won't wear
it to a live game. 

And why shouldn't I be--my husband made the Opening Day roster for arguably one of the best teams in baseball history.

Tuesday night I was dressed to work out, but never made it. ESPN ScoreCenter app* kept updating me on the many pitching changes of the last pre-season game and Joe's name was continually not called. I folded laundry and bit my nails to ragged nubs and Polly wondered why I kept moving the clothes she was trying to sleep on.

iPhone photo of field because I can't find the cord
that connects legit camera
to laptop 

"It's been a long day," he said when I answered. I nodded and exhaled ready to get past the small talk.
"It has. How are you?"
"Good. I am good. Do you want to meet me in Pittsburgh tomorrow?"
I started crying hysterically and told him how proud I was of him. After numerous mass texts and phone calls, my parents and his brother "Potty" came over for a glass of champagne while I packed--

for 30 degree weather!

I bundled up in my best version of cold weather spring style (cream coat, tomato colored dress, black tights, black booties) and met my parents and sister Yulie in Pittsburgh. Even though the real show was a few days later when we were the home team, it was pretty amazing to see him run out and knuck with Charlie Manuel. The staff was very nice, kindly leading us to the traveling family room and brushing the dust off our stadium seats (this was a little excessive, but sweet nonetheless).

After Pamela's incredible pancakes
No trip is complete without some eating so I will give a quick run down of the best places we went. Primanti Bros prides themselves on a sandwich made with your choice of meat, topped  stuffed with cheese, cole slaw and french fries. If you have ever seen the videos of a snake eating a gazelle, than you have seen what one has to do to eat these sandwiches.** Totally worth the TMJ though. Pamela's was the breakfast place of choice, Michelle Obama's favorite as well. I ordered chocolate chip pancakes with bananas, also known as all of my favorite things. The pancakes are very thin, like a crepe and the cheesy scrambled eggs were made with Velveeta. I don't remember what anyone else got because mine was so good I didn't look up or breath for my whole meal.
Primanti Brothers 

One of my wife friends, Brooke, suggested I change my flight so I would leave out of Philadelphia. I told her this presented the dilemma of not having a car to get to Philly from Pittsburgh.
"Just fly on the team plane."

Uhm, yes.

I will be a huge bratface princess and say that flying privately is freaking awesome. Hospitable friends of my father have let me go to on their planes, but this plane was Delta without security, lines, other passengers or waiting. I cannot say that it was not sans motion sickness (me) or flight anxiety (Joe), but it was really great and the team is very lucky to be able to travel that way. And I am lucky I got to mooch.

Highlight of the flight? Joe is basically a fraternity pledge and has to carry different players stuff, so I tried to be as invisible as possible while he did his rookie stuff. A former Astro  was walking down the aisle of the plane and stopped to introduce himself, something that was very uncalled for and very polite. I jumped up, and I mean jumped up, and smacked my head on the low ceiling over the seats.

I only hope he forgot my name and has doesn't associate Joe with the head trauma patient.

Philadelphia was incredible. I choked up several times thinking about how happy I was for Joe. I thought about a particularly rough time last season when I visited him in A ball. He was hitting then and not getting enough playing time to even show what he could do. The stress of no playing time only made his at bats less than ideal, perpetuating the cycle.
"I don't even know what I am doing here. I don't like being treated like a little boy. Tell me I suck, tell me I need to retire. Hell, release me," he vented that morning. My heart broke for him. I prayed to God that I would sacrifice anything, anything at all, if he could feel like he had a purpose again. Because even that early on, I knew Joe was ultimately where I felt my greatest purpose and that is what happens when you love someone in a real way-- you fight for their happiness more than your own.

So when Joe smiled walking down the "red carpet," high fiving fans that lined the field and a boys' choir sang some song about Philadelphia-- I was singing songs of praise that what I had asked for in Florida less than a year ago had been answered.

Joe played in that game. Allowing one run, but holding his composure as he always does.

Tonight Joe was moved to AAA and had to take the longest route possible to Buffalo, NY to meet up with the team (Philadelphia to Detroit to Buffalo--what?). This is not to say that Joe won't go back up with the big boys, nor is it to say that he will. We don't know what the rest of the season holds.

But Joe has played in  Major League games, he has played in a Major League Opening Series game and God has used him to make an inspirational story that can make even a cynic smile.

Worn out from all of her publicity 

*I only have this to know Phillies game stuff during baseball season. I get alerts but don't get a lot of them. What I do understand is "FINAL" means the game is done.
** I looked at some pictures to put with this snake-eating-gazelle comment and decided that they were really too gross to post on here. Save yourself your breakfast and don't Google Image it either, I sure regret it. 

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