By West Coast Craig
“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. … â€¨Of course, there are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.”
-A. Bartlett Giamatti
Munich â€“ My buddy John from Montana posted that quote on his Facebook page last night. Like John, Bart Giamatti was definitely a Red Sox fan…blossoming in summer and left to face the fall alone. For others among us, October is the greatest sports month goingâ€¦baseball playoffs, the NFL, college football, hockey, and itâ€™s the last monthâ€™s reprieve before the seeming eternity of the NBA season begins again. Paul Giamattiâ€™s dad obviously didnâ€™t pin any cycle of life metaphors on basketball, because that season lasts as long as Craig Sagerâ€™s jackets are hideous.
Itâ€™s October, time for the chicken dance, large steins of beer, polka music, and log sawing contestsâ€¦and yesterday was a huge sports day. Apart from PP, you probably didnâ€™t stay up till two in the morning to see the Phillies outlast the Rockies last night on a snow-free field. The only series left, and it might go all five, which should be a good thing for the Dodgers. The Yankees finished a sweep of the Twinkiesâ€¦not just in the series, but on the season, owning them 10-0 (though perhaps the least dominant 10-win sweep in history, seven of which were won by two runs or less, three in extra innings, including Fridayâ€™s improbable comeback). A-Rod seems to have progressed to his mean in the playoffs with a huge seriesâ€¦but could it be the opposing uniform? In 2004, before he ever slapped a glove, he hit a blistering .421 with a studly 1.213 OPS against the Twins, almost single handedly carrying the team through. In 2005, however, he hit a bit less stellar 2-15 with 5 Ks againstâ€¦the Angels. The Red Soxâ€™s playoff mastery over the Angels didnâ€™t quite pan out in their seriesâ€¦Eric Aybar, Bobby Abreu, and Vlad Guerrero each fought off two out, two strike counts in the ninth off a particularly bug-eyed (for him, thatâ€™s saying something) Papelbon. By the way, the Angels and Yanks split their series this year.
Bostonians ought to be crying into their giant steins right about now. The Red Sox rolled over, and Tom Brady did not look like Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of that game against Denver yesterday. Maybe it was those crazy Dr. Seuss socks the Broncos were wearing. A couple of years ago, Kyle Orton wouldnâ€™t have ever had a chance to drive his team 98 yards for the tieâ€¦but Brady was doing the chicken dance back there, overthrowing guys, rushing a throw to Welker that wouldâ€™ve been a sure winning score if he didnâ€™t hit him in the back of the leg. Of course, it may have helped that Josh McDaniels knows the Pats playbook as well as Brady does. By the way, wasn’t Bill Belichek looking around the field for Josh McDanielâ€™s like Jimmy Craig searching for his dad in crowd at the Lake Placid Olympic Arena. A far cry from his rather brusque brush off of Mangini a couple years ago.
Thereâ€™s now a 25% chance of a Freeway Series, and nobody outside of a 100 miles of where Iâ€™m sitting is going to care. Thatâ€™s getting ahead of ourselves, though, so letâ€™s pour ourselves another Octoberfest beer and just sit back and enjoy the rest of the month. Itâ€™ll be November soon, and when â€œthe days are all twilight,â€ it might as well be beer, in your man (or woman) cave, that gives you hope! Beer and donuts.
Now letâ€™s talk some sports!