I love baseball, even though my beloved Texas Rangers didn't make the playoffs this season.
As a Texas fan, I'm finding it especially difficult to root for either team in the American League Championship Series. That best-of-seven series, tied 2-2 heading into today's Game 5, pits the Evil Empire (the New York Yankees) vs. the Rangers' in-state rival (the Houston Astros). I don't suppose there's any way that both teams could lose, is there?
But seriously, folks ...
My friend David, a minister in Houston, alerted me to a tear-jerking feature story about a young Astros fan who ended up with a home run ball. This story almost makes me want to root for Houston. Almost.
The piece ran at the top of the Houston Chronicle's front page today. And yes, there's a religion angle. More on that in a moment.
"I don't know if you saw this, but it brought me to tears in public when I read it," David said. "Great writing."
Although I subscribe to the Chronicle, I hadn't read it yet today, so I appreciated my friend calling my attention to this story.
When Amanda Riley arrived at Minute Maid Park for Game 1 of the Astros-Yankees American League Championship Series, she couldn't contain her tears.
"We walk in, and all I'm seeing are families and dads holding their sons up," Riley said. "The whole time all I could think about was that we're there as a family, too, but we're missing one."
Four weeks earlier, 15-year-old Cade Riley — Amanda and Mike Riley's oldest son — died in an all-terrain vehicle accident on a trail near the family's home in Liberty Hill.
Since then, Amanda, Mike and their son Carson had trouble finding the motivation to leave the house as a family.
Mike knew it was time, and he made a decision that put his family directly in the path of a crucial Carlos Correa home run and made their youngest son the center of media attention and the object of Astros players' affection.
Keep reading, and the Chronicle offers relevant details on how the family ended up at two ALCS games in Houston last week — and on the providential circumstances that seemed to surround their time at Minute Maid Park. No, the newspaper never uses the phrase "providential circumstances," but the family's quotes make no doubt that they see them as such.