My flight was two hours delayed. Of course I hand't checked before being dropped off, so I had a few hours to kill in the O'Hare airport. With all of the delayed flights I was surprised and delighted to find a seat at the Goose Island Bar right near my gate. The San Fransico Giants were playing the Atlanta Braves. Not two teams I particularly care for, but that I meant I could watch baseball, without anxiety. I soon realized why my seat was empty. I tried hard to focus on the game, but the couple beside me was screaming at each other. One did not want to mosh at the concert because of a sore throat. The other was not "understandably." This discussion kept going until their pints finally finished, and I was alas, left to watch the game in piece.
The other screen had Monday night football. Preseason, but it was football, so I couldn't complain. The bartender kept awkwardly trying to seat men who walked in alone beside me. Maybe she assumed the only reason to go to a sports bar in the airport was to meet a man. Because people are always at their romantic best when their flights have been delayed and cancelled.
By the time the seat filled next to me, I was actually starting to focus on both games, understanding my flight would not leave anytime soon, I had no choice to follow airport sports. It wasn't like being at my home bars, where if ESPN was playing teams I didn't care for, and Joe Buck was announcing on FOX, we could agree on NESN replays. So I adapted. The man beside me had his iPad out, so he could follow all of his home team sports. I asked if there was free internet, and he replied in iPad terms.
Then ESPN flashed an update. Thome had gotten his 599 home run. They also announced they would show his next at bat. The man next to me briefly discussed sports. We both had been to a White Sox game while in town. Him for a bachelor party, me for an insane life project involving every ballpark and a coffee table. We both had already been to Wrigley and agreed in it's superiority. He went back to his iPad, and I went back to watching and hoping for a Jets loss. Mostly, because the Yankees were winning. It was starting to feel like Kansas City was following me around.
It was Thomes next at bat. The TV switched over as promised, and we sat silently. All of the what-ifs buzzing through the air. And it happened. With mighty force he hit his 600th homer. And suddenly, my two hour delay didn't seem so catastrophic. At the bar we smiled like little kids. Because baseball does that. One minute you are at the bar pissed off listening to a couple fight, and the next minute you are witnessing something completely glorious happen to make baseball history. I texted and congratulated my principal. The only Twins fan I know. And when I finally found my gate, I was the only one smiling.