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Dealing with the shortcomings of technology on the sidelines [Commentary]

Wednesday was not a good day for me, and there's enough chewed up pen caps around my desk and on the floor mats of my car to prove it. I was a real stress case, as anyone I talked with on the phone, friends and co-workers alike, can attest to. How does this relate to sports? I'll get to that in a second.

You see, my work-issued laptop went kaput around 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, for the second time in less than six months, and without it, I'm pretty much useless. I guess that's some kind of comment on how reliant we've become on technology, but I don't want to get into all that mess. When my laptop is working, I don't have to do all, or any, of my writing at The Aegis office in Bel Air. I can file my stories from the sidelines, or from the press box at Ripken Stadium, which is where I spend a lot of my time in the summer. Just me and my Macbook Pro, in the air-conditioning, while baseball is being played; lovely. It's a slacker cliche, but I hate cubicles, man, and being able to work remotely has let me avoid them for long stretches.

After my laptop rolled over and died on me (it's being fixed while you read this), I picked up an assignment sheet and, upon reading it, realized that a project for my Type and Design class that I thought was two in two weeks is actually due on Tuesday. Awesome. So long day-time weekend plans, hello computer lab.

After I calmed down about the school project and figured I wouldn't need to warp space-time to get it done before Tuesday, a family member emailed me to say that the get-together we'd planned for early August was not going to work, and that I'd need to switch all my flight bookings. Super.

With all that behind me, and laptop-less (that sounds kind of dirty), I made my way to Ripken Stadium, late, but in time to see most of the game. The IronBirds have had some flashes of brilliance thus far in the season, but they've been uneven, and, as my day hadn't been going so well leading up to this point, I was expecting a blowout loss, and some very short post-game interviews.

Far from a blowout, Aberdeen's pitchers, though they issued five walks, which is probably too many, were just about unhittable, allowing just one single over eight innings. If you've read this column for any length of time, you know how much I like fine pitching performances, and I got to see one, or most of one, anyway.

In the bottom of the eighth, before Aberdeen was set to take what might have been its last turn at the plate, a monsoon hit Ripken Stadium. At this point, it was 9:30, and I lost all hope that I'd be home before 11 p.m. It's professional baseball, and the people involved tend to take winning games very seriously. If a team is only down three runs and they still have an at-bat coming to them, they're going to want to take it, whether they have to sit in the clubhouse for 90 minutes or not. Baseball is their job, and the rest of us are just watching.

I was staring blankly out at the field as the rain started to slacken off, thinking about how long it would take the ground crew to squeegee the puddles behind third and first base, when the chief umpire signaled to the press box with a wave of both hands, which is the international sign for, "game's over, go home, folks." IronBirds win, 3-0, I get my interviews with happy players, and I'm back on the road before 10:30 p.m.

Baseball, though it causes a lot heartache, is usually pretty good to me. It certainly helped me out on Wednesday night.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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