THE TREES ARE STRIPPED BARE.

So it is October, and we find ourselves in the improbable place where I am coming home and turning on the baseball, and TBF, not wanting any part of it for more than an inning or two, comes over, sits down, watches and then leaves. He has no interest, and I cannot give it up yet. How is this possible?

I wish I had some kind of strong loyalty to one team. I like Eric Byrnes, so I was sorry to see the Diamondbacks lose; I like the underdog story that is the Rockies (at least until I found out about the whole bible class in the clubhouse thing), and there’s a MG reader named Kelsey with a great Rockies-related email address who chimes in now and again, and I love that. I know a little bit about the Indians because of one of my favorite bloggers (who stopped towards the end of the season), and love that they have a pitcher whose name is “Fausto,” and am fascinated that “Asdrubal” is the name of a Carthaginian general, the brother of Hannibal, and means “God helps”. (However, I am NOT thrilled to hear how badly they mistreated some of my compatriots at the Jake last night.)

And now that the Phillies are out of it, I am once again on speaking terms with TexasGal, who runs the delightful Center Field and roots for the Cubs, the Phillies and the Red Sox. I realize that that triumverate breaks all sorts of sacred Bill Simmons guy rules but I have to tell you that I don’t give a crap, and I’m convinced the whole reason the rules exist is that no guy could multi-task multi-team the way Texy does. Any woman whose souvenirs of a playoff game are a sunburn, no voice, scorecards and a 2/3 empty bottle of Bushmills is my kind of gal, no matter which team she roots for (well, except for the Yankees. And we were both walking on eggshells for a few weeks there with the Phillies and all.)

It is because of Texas Gal that, when on a job interview for my current position, I could do 10 minutes on Jonathan Papelbon and Jacoby Ellsbury (the interviewer was from Boston). It is how last week, on a night TBF was trying to gently remind me of how early I had to get up the next day, I refused to budge because I wanted to see Papelbon pitch, and whined about it, and when they flashed to the bullpen I cried out, “Cinco ocho!” and TBF froze in his tracks. “How the *hell* do you– oh, nevermind.” (Texy designed some shirts recently that I covet, but will never own, because when on earth would I wear them?)

Unlike TBF, I do not hate the Red Sox. I realize you will all tell me that it’s a matter of time, but between Texy and my dear friend Lisa (who was in town last week for Springsteen, and I had to research Red Sox bars for her), I do not know that I can hate them, and right now I am going to live vicarously through someone because I don’t have any emotion of my own to bring to things. (I will, however, refrain from describing Papelbon as a dandelion out of deference to his delicate sensibilities.) Well, that’s not exactly true: I can bring the lump that welled up in my throat last night in Cleveland during the last out against Boston, knowing what the streets look like around the ball park and imagining the chaos. I can bring the tears welling in my eyes when the cameras in Colorado go to a shot of two women wearing matching lavendar wigs, hugging each other and jumping up and down, waving brooms. And I can read Texy and anyone else in Boston or Cleveland or Colorado and be mighty glad for them, because, well, I know what it was like last year.

The emotion I can bring is that it should have been us, and it’s not, and there’s a whole lot more baseball we’re not going to be part of. Turning on a game is like going to a minyan in a strange synagogue; the prayers are the same, and a lot of it is familiar, but it’s not your minyan in your synagogue (translation: your service in your church for the goyim amongst us). I like that I can watch a game and talk about it and enjoy it, but it’s just not the same, no matter how many times Tommy LaSorda or Dane Cook or whatever godforsaken spokesidiot comes out and tells us that WE HAVE TO WATCH (when us watching isn’t the problem, it’s the rest of America that thinks baseball is boring – but that’s another article).

When Ray mentioned it, I entered my email address into the Indians’ lottery (although, thanks to TBF, we were already entered in the lottery of any team where it could have possibly mattered). I gotta tell ya, if we had had a chance to buy WS tickets, I would have gone for it. It would have been a poor substitute but it would’ve been something, would’ve been BASEBALL, would’ve been one last gasp of green and blue before Spring Training rolls around.

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