The Cruelty of the End – From the Bird’s Nest
Just like that.
It's the cruelty of the spring game we love so much.
There's the passion, there's the thrill, there's the outstanding performance, there's the atmosphere, there's the joy of winning, there's the joy of knowing your team is one of the best 25 programs in the country.
And, then, just like that, it's over.
And, it hurts like hell.
The downside of every baseball season is, it's going to end with a loss, unless you win the national championship.
For the last four years, my final radio interview has been with Associate Head Coach Anthony Babineaux. That's the good news. That means the Cajuns have had, as head coach Tony Robichaux has said, a good Memorial Day. It means the Cajuns are in post-season play.
It means, for a time, the dream lives.
But, even in the last four years, it has ended. With a loss. And that last convo with Bab has been a tough one. But, it ends with the knowing the season has been a successful one.
Monday night, we all knew the Cajuns would come back. Sure, they were down 3-0. But Cajun fans knew the team would respond...just as they had during the last 2/3 of the season when they won 31 of 41 games. Kyle Clement's homer cut the deficit to two. And, the Cajuns still had 18 outs left. The Cajuns stranded a runner in scoring position in the sixth...but the Cajuns still had nine outs.
John Fogerty sang. It was time for a comeback.
Even as they came to bat in the ninth, it was going to take getting one man on base. Then a big fly and it would be tied. And D-Mo was on the mound.
One of the beautiful things about the game of baseball is, there is no clock. And, therefore, there is always a chance. Always. Remember in the regional the previous year when the Cajuns scored five times in the ninth inning to get a first round win over Rice? Remember the Cajuns being totally throttled in their next game against Houston, only to come up with a pair of runs in the final at-bat?
And, because of that, Cajun fans still believed the win was coming right up until the final strike was called.
And then BANG. It was over.
After packing equipment, I went downstairs. I saw one of the Arizona coaches speaking with a couple of fans. I stopped and congratulated them and wished them the best in Starkville.
The end of the season is perhaps the toughest on the parents of seniors. As I turned the corner, I saw Mary Bacon. She and her husband Bill had become friends of mine during Will's two years in a Cajuns uniform. They made just about every road trip during the last two years. I made Bill drink Yuengling. He didn't like it all that much, but he drank it anyway. I looked at Mary. She had tears in her eyes. I hugged her and she cried for a couple of seconds. Then she looked at me.
"It just ends so fast."
It does. Every time.
What makes baseball so great...the thought of it never being over til the very end is the thing that makes it so cruel.
It just ends so fast.