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The Last Day of the Season

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Goodbye, 2019. It’s been real.

Chicago Cubs v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

It is always always always shocking how quickly the seasons go, you know. Maybe not for everyone; maybe not for the kids, because for children all the things in their worlds are changing almost all the time, and so they mark their time in tiny increments. When every day brings something new and novel, it is important to remember every day.

For those of us not blessed with the inevitably wasted gift of youth, however, the seasons go by so fast. There are big moments in life, of course, and when those moments come we mark them out, remember them, make scrapbooks both physical and mental, measure time before and after, prior to and since. But those moments are fewer and further between the longer you live. I stopped at the grocery store Friday afternoon on my way home from work. I know this because I have apple flavoured sparkling ice beverages in my refrigerator now, which I was out of earlier in the week, and because when I open the cabinet to get out a can of cat food in the morning I don’t have to quash down a sudden hit of panic, worried the cats might eat me since ocean whitefish pate is not available.

And yet, if you asked me to tell you about my trip to the grocery store on Friday afternoon, I’m not sure what I would say. A few weeks ago I bought cinnamon brooms while I was at the store, so I remember that trip. But this one? It was milk, it was eggs, it was cat food, it was sparkling water, it was yogurt, it was lunch meat, it was bananas, it was two bags of sourdough pretzels because they were on sale. It was every other trip to the grocery store, in other words. It is hard to mark time when time has so little variance to it.

Baseball has a lot in common with life that way. Quick, without looking: what do you remember about the game on the 18th of June? The answer, probably, is “nothing”. Not because you don’t remember the game in question — it was, in case you’re wondering, a loss to Jordan Yamamoto and the Miami Marlins with Jack Flaherty on the mound, which is just about as bad a moment as there has been all season — but because the baseball season just all sort of melts together after awhile, in much the same way life does. We remember the moments, both good and bad, but how do you really mark time during the baseball season? There are signposts along the way, and progress markers such as Tony LaRussa’s old 5-10-20 over .500 thing, but the baseball season, like the rest of our days, just sort of slips by.

And now the 2019 season has slipped by. I’ll remember the season, of course, but the individual games are like all those endless grocery store trips: milk, eggs, cat food, two-run double, stolen base, line drive to right, bread and butter pickles. I look back now at the preview piece I wrote in March, and it seems so much more recent than a whole baseball season ago.

This is the last day. There will be more baseball after this, thankfully; the Cardinals will be playing in October this year after a painfully prolonged absence. But for the season, this is it. I do not know in what situation El Birdos find themselves this morning; I am writing this as John Brebbia is putting the Cards back into a hole they had nearly climbed out of. But regardless, this is the end. The 2019 season is over, and it seemed like it had barely begun. I have no analysis for you this morning; there is nothing more to be said between friends as we wait for the last dripdripdrip of this season to drop. So let’s us all sit and watch, and try very hard to mark this one out, and remember it always, because the last day seems as good a time as any. It is not the last of baseball, but it is the last of this baseball, and this baseball is baseball we will never have again.