On Wednesday night, after presenting my final project for my Sports Law class I found myself at Kilroy’s bar surrounded by my friends and classmates. But my eyes were glued to the TV that was farthest away from my seat – the one with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies game on.
All of the people at the table, know that I’m a Detroit Tigers fan through and through. I’m pretty sure that I bleed orange and blue, but most of them don’t know about my fascination (read: obsession?) with Clayton Kershaw. Some of the people I was sitting with might say that I can’t appreciate a great baseball performance unless it was done by someone on the Detroit Tigers roster, but that’s just not true. As much of a Tigers fan as I am, I’m more of a baseball fan. My mom calls me a Detroit Tigers fan with National League tendencies – I like the small ball, bunting, stealing bases, less home runs style of play. I embrace the game from every pitch to every out of every inning from Spring Training until the last game of the World Series.
I’d check my phone occasionally – I don’t think I was more thankful in that moment to have an iPhone and having made the choice to spend $150 for MLB.tv – to see that Kershaw was doing something spectacular. At the time it was a perfect game, but just as I started to get excited and the people around me noticed, the perfection was lost and a no-hitter remained. Then I left the bar and my only link to the impressive performance was my almost dead iPhone and that MLB.tv account. My best friend laughed at me as he drove me home because I was visibly nervous that Kershaw might lose the no-hitter and quite honestly I was just overall freaking out about how awesome it all was. I got to my apartment and rushed up the stairs hoping that my Internet connection wouldn’t fail me as the thunderstorm started outside my window. I sat in the dark of my room illuminated only by my computer screen and listened to Vin Scully call out Kershaw’s 15 strikeout no-hitter. When the game was over, I tweeted about being a happy Clayton Kershaw fan, I might have even cried a little, too.
Several years ago if anyone would have asked me who my favorite athlete was I would have without a doubt told you that it was Curtis Granderson. He had captured my attention in his early days in Detroit when he was wearing the number 28 and patrolling the center field of Comerica Park. But now, Clayton Kershaw holds that place in my heart. I’ve been obsessing over the person that he is on the field and off it since I read his book, Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself a couple years back. Then he had an I Am Second video and I fell more in love with his character.
Since then, I’ve been hoping – praying vigilantly, actually – that the Dodgers would come to Detroit so that I could be in the same stadium as him. This season is the season, as the Dodgers will be in Detroit for two games in July. It doesn’t matter to me if he pitches one of those games, all it matters is that I’ll be able to say that I saw him in person. He might also be the one guy that I seek out an autograph from because that’s not something that I normally do.
When I woke up on Thursday morning, my grandma had texted me saying, “WOW for your favorite baseball player throwing a no hitter!!!” I could barely contain my excitement and responded immediately. I called my mom at work because I knew that she saw the highlights on SportsCenter while she was at the gym and I wanted to talk about how overjoyed I was.
It was a special moment for Kershaw, but it was special for me to because I’m probably the biggest Kershaw fan that cheers for the Detroit Tigers. And with each out of his no-hitter I was reminded why I love the game so much and I fell in love with the beauty of the game all over again. It may not have been a perfect game, but it looked like perfection to me.