Heaven is in Arizona

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I am in heaven. You’ve heard of stories of people visiting heaven briefly and coming back. Lambert Dolphin has one of those stories. This is better. I’m in heaven right now. I am writing this from heaven.

Contrary to popular opinion, heaven is not up there somewhere in the clouds; heaven is in Arizona, in a certain daytime cafe, where they are seating you indoors — first time for me in over a year — and serving the best breakfast in the world along with your own thermal pot of the best coffee. They’ll never get rid of me this morning. I’m expecting Larry Norman to show up any minute.

They call this place First Watch. It’s a clever name, but I have a hard time remembering it so I just call it heaven. There are nine of these in Phoenix. You are never farther than ten minutes away from one.

Hey, did you see me on TV yesterday? If you can find the Angels game, you can find me. When they gave me my seats in return for the ones I couldn’t use last year because of the canceled spring season, they put me five rows back just off home plate. I can see curves break from here. I can see scuffs on the umpire’s shoes. I can see dust fly off the catcher’s mitt when a fastball snaps tightly in his glove. And I am  directly in the eye of the camera picking up the batter in his box. And there are so many empty seats in the stands that you can’t miss me. In the picture here I’m sitting with Nancy Gonzalez, Catch MemberPartner and volunteer ticket taker for Angels spring training games.

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The Angels beat the Giants yesterday just barely, 5-4. Of course winning doesn’t matter in spring training. But it still is more fun that losing. They were lucky, though, because Angels pitchers walked a lot of batters; the Giants just left them on base. Eleven in all in a seven inning game. It was fun, though. Mike Trout hit a home run and Albert Pujols collected three hits. One was a double, which is a big deal for Albert. He’s really got to bury the ball somewhere out there since it takes him so long to get to second base. Honestly, when Albert hits a home run you can go get another hot dog while he’s rounding the bases.

Well this is the Catch so I suppose I should say something spiritual. Okay I will: Go Angels. All Angels — the real ones. Our better Angels. Our little Angels. Angels unawares. Angels unseen. Angels who conquer demons and ensure we all make it home safely. Angels in heaven and Angels on earth, especially in a pandemic. Yes, heaven is in Arizona; it’s also anywhere you are. And anywhere you are, there are Angels.

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