And now a word from Mrs. Orel....
If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.
Hamlet Act V, Scene II
What happened Thursday was not luck.
Mark Loretta, 38, waited on the bench, prepared and hungry like a professional understudy. Called upon to pinch-hit and face a pitcher against whom he was 0-for-15 lifetime, Loretta had to have come to grips with the facts.
At his age, retirement is around the corner. In a fifteen-year career, he'd only played in one post-season series, which his team lost. Because Joe Torre wasn't starting him, he was rested. No one expected anything from Loretta when he was called upon Thursday. The Cardinals were not afraid of Loretta; so certain they could get him out, they pitched around Russell Martin to get to him.
Mark Loretta, with nothing to lose and no pressure from upstairs, walked to home plate, quietly electric. In a swirling confluence of facts, Loretta boldly stared down Ryan Franklin and did his job.
"This is the best moment of my career," Loretta said after his game-winning hit.
"What did Vin Scully say about it? I'll have to ask him."
A lot of people are talking about you, Mark Loretta. Remember that as you return to the bench. A lot of us could learn a lesson from you, sir. You have redefined "stepping up to the plate."
You have taught us: Be hungry, be ready, be quiet and play ball.
top photo by Jon SooHoo/Dodgers; bottom photo by Jill Weisleder/Dodgers