Monday, October 19, 2009

The World Series of Love

So I'm watching game three of the ALCS tonight. I'm an unabashed Yankees fan, as anyone who knows me will tell you. (Stay with me West Coast readers.) I was dazzled by the magic that closer Mariano Rivera worked as only he can. The man's arm is graced with some serious positive juju, the likes of which I've never seen in my life as a baseball fan.

After Mariano got himself, and my boys in blue, out of what could be generously called a serious jam, I kind of relaxed. Mo took control, shut down the threat; it should have been smooth sailing from there.

Here's where the Mama stuff comes in.

After Mo's miracle working, the Yankees failed to deliver a run. So the team, while momentarily out of the woods, still had some work to do.

Enter Joe Girardi, Yankees Manager. A baseball manager is, in many ways, just like a Mama. A manager wants his team to thrive, to succeed, to prosper, just the same as any Mama wants for her family. A manager knows his team, inside and out, the way a Mama knows her family. A manager makes decisions--both popular and less so--based on what he feels is best for his team, just the way we Mamas do. (Think enforcing bedtime and candy rationing.)

Well, tonight, Joe Girardi made some decisions in the 11th inning that I will go to my grave without understanding. He replaced Rivera with Robertson, a young right-hander who performed, for the precious few pitches he threw, admirably. Then, in a mid-inning move that confounded many a fan and--in my mind at least--lost the game for the Yankees, Girardi pulled Robertson for another right-hander, Aceves, a pitcher who has struggled some in recent games.

Why?

Here, Mamas, is the crux of this post: Because Girardi thought he was making the best choice he could make in a tough situation. The game was tied in the 11th inning and he had already used his ace. What next?

See, Mamahood and baseball have a lot in common. As Mamas, we're thrown curve balls almost every day of the week. (At least baseball players get off days!) We're operating in the moment, with outside forces vying for power. (Think MTV, Toys 'R Us and Mean Girls.) We try to anticipate and cut off danger before it even crosses the plate.

But sometimes, in the thick of it, as we formulate our permutations of every conceivable outcome for a given situation, we over think things. Sometimes, in an effort to save, we end up doing some collateral damage.

So Joe Girardi, if you're reading this, let me first tell you that I'm a big fan. But let me also give you some advice, one Mama to another: Sometimes we need to give our kids a chance to fall, before we try to save them from doing so. They'll learn some lessons in the process, to be sure. And the landing might not be nearly so bad as we anticipate.

As for the rest of us Major League Mamas, let game three of this ALCS serve as a reminder not to judge. When you see that Mama at the supermarket with the wild child, check yourself before you let those holier-than-thou thoughts fly: You don't know what she's faced that day or what kind of curve balls she's been thrown. She might have just moved her world through a potential shitstorm with no casualties and could, at that moment, be in need of a solid reliever to carry her through. Whatever her story, she's probably doing the best she can at that moment, just like good old Girardi.

But next time, Joe, if you've got a good thing going? Do me a favor. Let it ride.

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