I write for many reasons: to share, to entertain, to better understand the world around me. But mostly I write because my memory is terrible and if I don’t, I’ll forget things.
Tony Gwynn knocked five hits in a game eight times in his career. The seventh of those came on April 23, 1994, at Jack Murphy Stadium, against the Phillies.
I was there. It was the first baseball game the future Mrs. Ducksnorts and I ever attended together.
I’d forgotten this until I recently flipped through some old notebooks of mine. Back then I wrote poems and songs, very little about baseball. It’s strange to recall, but I fell away from the game during college and for a while after that.
While rummaging through these old notebooks, I wrote a little something on Facebook–kind of a pep talk to myself–that got picked up by Bleacher Report. It’s advice for writers from someone who probably shouldn’t be giving advice to writers, and it includes this passage:
I’ve been rereading old writing books that informed my work 20 years ago. The goal is to recapture what has been lost and/or to discover what I didn’t know was even there. Natalie Goldberg’s early books helped guide me after college, and they are helping again now.
Revisiting her material has been a rewarding experience, as has been revisiting my own awkward attempts from that time. Perspectives change, and much of what I wrote then no longer makes sense to me, although I recognize it as my own.
Thing is, I have notes from Gwynn’s seventh five-hit game. They’re not detailed enough to be useful, but they’re marginally interesting, if only to see what mattered to me when I was in my 20s. Also to remind me of what my 20s were like, because I have forgotten most of that as well.
I wanted to write about this but couldn’t find an angle. Then serendipity struck. Gwynn appeared on our pal Craig Elsten’s radio show.
Gaslamp Ball has documented their discussion, including Gwynn’s story of the time he was hit by a Curt Schilling pitch. It came the day after his five-hit game. The only reason I know this is that Gaslamp Ball mentioned it on Twitter:
— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) May 31, 2013
And the only reason this looked familiar to me is that I’d been rereading old notebooks. Because if I don’t write, I forget things. Like the fact that my then-future-wife and I attended our first baseball game together the day before Gwynn got plunked by Schilling.
After all this buildup, my notes from the game are a letdown. They say more about my twentysomething self than they do about the game.
But I write to share, to entertain, to better understand the world around me. Hopefully this works on at least one of those levels:
Gwynn had five hits, Sandra had her first super dog, the guys behind us sang “Louie, Louie” every time Luis Lopez came up, Donnie Elliott was wild, Cianfrocco almost hit a couple of balls out, Phil Clark started a nice DP, the crowd of 31,000 got the wave going, we ate a box of Crunch ‘N’ Munch, the moon was almost full, we sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” we got great seats–Plaza level, behind third base, Incaviglia dove for a ball but couldn’t hold on, Hollins hit a monster home run to right, Rivera looked feeble at the plate, the Phillies got only one hit after the third inning–Stocker singled to left with one out in the ninth, Martinez got Duncan to end the game.
Those are some ugly-ass notes, but they tell me something that I otherwise wouldn’t have known: I was at that game. I won’t forget it again.
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