On Sunday night, a few hours after he watched his first child come into the world, Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson made a tough but necessary decision. He drove home, in search of a bed that would be much softer than the hard couch in the corner of a hospital room in La Jolla.
Dickerson, a player who has at times had his career stalled by back injuries, knew he needed to start looking ahead to Monday night, and that meant getting a good night of sleep. His plan nearly worked to perfection.
Dickerson homered in his first game off the paternity list and had two other hits, but he also got drilled by a 90 mph slider that sent him to the X-ray machine and added just another twist to two of the wildest weeks a Giant has ever gone through.
Two Fridays ago, Dickerson found himself in the middle of a COVID-19 scare when a false positive postponed two Giants games in San Diego. By Sunday the Giants were back on the field, with Dickerson running on fumes following a day of strenuous testing for himself and his wife, who was 39 weeks pregnant at the time.
The Giants flew to Seattle but ended up right back in San Francisco on Tuesday because of poor air quality. Dickerson played those two games and one against the A's, and then it was back to San Diego to join his wife Jennifer. Levi Ross Dickerson arrived at 1:47 p.m. on Sunday, right as Chadwick Tromp was hitting a two-run homer against the A's. Naturally, Daddy Dickerson had the game on with the sound up.
Before Tuesday's game, Dickerson summed up the last two weeks with one word: "Crazy." He said he has plans to make sure Levi Ross fully understands what the experience was like.
"We're going to make a scrapbook for him," Dickerson said. "The last week, but the entire pregnancy, what it took to get him here, it was a lot. We'll make a scrapbook at some point and be able to explain to him the craziness that went on the last nine months. Between COVID and all the different variables, and then I have to leave, and the week before there's the false positive and freaking out about that, and making a lot of headlines ... a lot more people were excited for his birth than I anticipated."
While the last two weeks haven't been easy, it all ended well. Mother and son are back home and doing well, although if all goes according to plan, it'll be a while before the family is fully reunited. Jennifer will stay in the San Diego area with her mom while Alex plays out the rest of the season. He could be home Sunday night, or he could be home in a few weeks after a playoff run. It's not ideal, but none of this has been.
"I think it was something we were prepared for all year, " Dickerson said. "The way baseball works, you only get three days (for the birth of a child) and in my case I only took two because my wife knows how important this season is and all these games really matter. I wanted to be there to watch the birth and come back."
Dickerson is taking this playoff run so seriously that he said he would have tried to get back for Sunday afternoon's game in Oakland had Levi been born earlier. The Giants need him, too, with Mike Yastrzemski sidelined and Austin Slater limited to DH duty.
Dickerson continued his tear Tuesday night, coming off the bench with a sleeve protecting his right elbow and hitting a loud solo shot to center to break a tie. The Giants went on to win 5-2. Afterward, in a postgame interview, he looked as tired as you would expect, but he had a big smile on his face.
"You know, it was a long process," Dickerson said. "I think I realized the weight off my shoulders on the flight back (from San Diego). Just how good I felt, that everybody is healthy and looking great. I'm extremely excited for the offseason and getting to spend time with my family."