Reconnecting with this baseball thing, again

This is Dustin Pedroia. I'm pretty sure he still plays baseball, but it's been a while.

This is Dustin Pedroia. I’m pretty sure he still plays baseball, but it’s been a while.

Today, after work, I walked off the T and picked up a package of ground beef on my way home, changed into my Marco Scutaro t-shirt, relaxed and then got down to the business of making dinner. Tonight was enchilada night, not that every Tuesday is enchilada night, but just to give you a little bit of color this evening.

While I made dinner, I had the Eddie Vedder Water on the Road DVD playing in the background, and “Sometimes” and “Rise” and “Guaranteed” and such provided the soundtrack while I chopped peppers and browned the beef with the taco seasoning.

After dinner, I sat down with a drink and I turned my full attention to the Red Sox game, as they hosted the Padres in the first of a three-game series to dovetail with the Fourth of July. John Lackey was pitching, but I decided to stick with my decision to watch it anyway.

And it was right around that time that I realized this was the first time I was sitting down to watch a baseball game in earnest in more than a month.

After spending the better part of two months digesting every aspect of the NHL playoffs imaginable (which is slightly more hockey than usual for me), I dedicated my night to reconnecting with baseball, which is typically a nightly ritual but for the second summer in three years had been derailed by a crazy chase for glory by the Boston Bruins.

I have certain responsibilities as a columnist, so it behooves me to pay attention to this kind of stuff. And I have, reading game reports and keeping tabs on the Sox’ roster changes — I knew that Will Middlebrooks was down in Pawtucket, Brandon Snyder was in his spot at third in Boston, Jose Iglesias is hitting .400 and Pedro Ciriaco isn’t on the team anymore yet managed to steal two bases in the game I saw tonight. I even have a fantasy team I check once a week.

But the rest of baseball has been a bit of a mystery. I knew the Dodgers were a high-priced, last-place disaster, but the Pirates are in first place? Miguel  Cabrera is trying to win the Triple Crown again, but Chris Davis already has 31 home runs? And Daniel Nava is still good?

But the real mystery, of course, was was re-revealed in watching the little things unfold in the course of play. Snyder had a near-miss down the left-field line go foul, and immediately followed it up with a bases-clearing double off the wall near the “B Strong” logo. The fact that he was thrown out at third only meant that he got to enjoy his high-fives on his way back to the dugout sooner.

Iglesias was back at shortstop tonight in place of a day-to-day Stephen Drew, and watching him make the routine plays is still fun. Even Lackey was alright, working quickly and efficiently through eight innings of work.

And Dustin Pedroia, in a very Pedroia-like play, eschewed an easy double play ball to instead take the first out at second and fire the ball into Jarrod Saltalamacchia at catcher in an effort to keep Ciriaco honest at third for the Padres. On the scoresheet, it reads as “FC 5-4,” but the subtext reveals a heady play that saved a run in a close game.

Watching this game made me more in tune with the rest of the league, and I was following along on my laptop while Homer Bailey threw his second no-hitter for the Reds against Scutaro’s San Francisco Giants. Only a walk to Gregor Blanco, who wound up being the 27th out for San Francisco, kept Bailey from recording a perfect game.

Even with that bit of history, it was life as usual in the world of baseball, the day-to-day joys masking the larger plot lines that only reveal themselves after the season is over. And it felt good.

And with that, after work and dinner, I’ll see you in front of the game tomorrow night, where history might happen again and Pedroia will no doubt do something else cool.

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