Diamond of Sorrows

This is not a sports blog by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not a big sports fan. In fact, I’m not really a small sports fan. It’s not “sports” I’m opposed to, per se.  It’s the fans, the parents, those people participating from the sidelines who I have a hard time enjoying. Sports represents jocks, mindless group behavior and a state of moron. In other words, what sports represented to nerdy twerps like me in high school.

Still, I was a huge baseball fan most of my life and it wasn’t until the 90’s that I gradually stopped watching. I suspect it was owing more to emotional self-protection since I’m an incredibly bad sport and the Dodgers have gone through spells where my sportsmanship was severely tested. It’s easier to not root, thereby avoiding frustration issues, than to root and deal with the emotive rollercoaster that makes life difficult to traverse for bad sports like me. I escaped the clutches of baseball quite well for a few decades, until this dude.

Shohei Ohtani

My wife, in a fit of unforeseen baseball mania hybridized with newfound ethnic pride, has fallen head over heels for this renaissance baseball player from Japan. Responding with optimum cuck form, I’ve humored her schoolgirl thrall and invited baseball back into the house; at least I’ve had the spine to continue my Dodger fandom in the face of her support for the Anaheim Shoheis (and that’s the name they should use because I doubt the Angels have near that level of support on their own).

Baseball has hooked me back courtesy of my wife’s crush.  Unfortunately, I’m headed back into my old intense baseball frame and I fear I’m headed toward another post-season heartbreak courtesy of the Los Angeles Dodgers based on their trajectory recently, but then again, that’s just the raging pessimist talking.

The Dodgers won last year’s COVID World Series, a very asterisk-y title but hey, a World Series is a World Series, isn’t it? The team had great hopes this season and for the greater part, have played like champions with a pitching rotation that has been nearly unbeatable, but they appear to be dissembling in the face of a surprising powerhouse called the San Francisco Giants.  A little disappointing, but probably not as much as what the San Diego Padres are experiencing.

Prior to the season, the Padres were being spoken of in World Series contender terms. At the very least, a shoe-in for the post-season. Alas, it was not to happen; the team has crumbled due to injuries and faltering performance after a great start to the season that saw them in contention as recently as July. The decline has been trying for the team and its fans. Tensions have resulted in at least one dugout argument between Padre players and fights in the stands have been attributed to fan frustration.

The frustration has given way to the tragic. A sad, mysterious deadly chain of events happened prior to yesterday’s game in San Diego when a woman and her son were killed in an accident that police are not saying wasn’t suspicious.

A woman and her 2-year-old son died late Saturday afternoon after they fell from the third level of Petco Park, just as thousands of baseball fans were heading inside for a Padres game, San Diego police said.

The woman, 40, and the boy were pronounced dead at 4:11 p.m., about 20 minutes after police were alerted to the incident, said homicide Lt. Andra Brown.

The pair fell from the third level concourse — the equivalent of six stories high — to the sidewalk below on Tony Gwynn Drive, Brown said. While efforts were made to resuscitate the woman and child, it quickly became apparent that neither had survived the fall, she said.

Their names were not released; both lived in San Diego. The mother and child had been at a dining/concession area on the concourse level prior to the fall, said police Lt. Adam T. Sharki. The child’s father was at the ballpark when the deaths occurred, police reported.

This strikes a horrible chord with me.  You take your child to an innocent daytime ballgame for some stadium food and maybe a souvenir…and this happens.  How does a 2-year-old child mount a barrier meant to protect adults and walking children from such dangerous heights?  Or did he wriggle out of her arms?  These are the thoughts that go through my head to make sense of this.

Petco fall

Police said it is too early to know whether the fall was accidental or intentional but noted that the victims’ deaths “appeared to be suspicious.”

Brown said investigators understand that there may have been a number of people in the concourse area who might have more information, which, she said, could potentially “give the family some peace.”

“Our hearts obviously go out to the family, but also to the people who here could potentially be traumatized who saw this,” Brown said. “It’s a horrible, horrible thing. That’s why we’re giving it a very serious look.”

The incident horrified fans who had come to Petco to cheer on the Padres taking on the Atlanta Braves at the tail end of the baseball season. Posts on social media reflected the sadness and shock of those who had seen what happened, while others in the stands at the 4:15 p.m. game talked about it among themselves.

A man who did not wish to be identified said his wife witnessed the fall. She told him that it appeared a toddler fell from an area with picnic tables, and the woman also fell while trying to grab the child.

This makes a bleak Padre season really Bleak.

The mythos of baseball through ages have been interlaced with darkness and tragedy; tales of baseball lore spin supernatural webs of looming horror and ill fate. Baseball is legend told round the campfire. These deaths, regardless of the why, speak to the persistence of baseball’s dark lore.

This reminds me of the death of Shannon Stone at a Texas Rangers game in 2011. All because a player was just trying be a nice guy.

Baseball does sorrow well.




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