EAST AMHERST, NY- The two week gap in late January between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is long, empty, and nerve fraying for the hard core sports fan. After bingeing on NFL football for 24 weeks, including the pre and post-season, suddenly fans are asked to cool off for 2 weeks so just the right amount of hype can be generated in preparation for the Big Game.
If you rely on sports to numb the pain of promise unfulfilled like I do, there are at least a couple of options to satisfy some of the “jones-ing” from football. The NBA and NHL are in full swing in late January. And granted, regular season games in pro basketball and hockey in January carry as much drama as “Tammy” but more on that in a moment. Plus, college hoops if you’re so inclined is part of the sports landscape that time of year too. So it isn’t a complete disaster waiting for the damn Super Bowl. It’s not as though I have to reach for ways to avoid running into my wife during that time of the year.
The Major League All-Star game, though, is a different story entirely. Every July the “midsummer classic” is staged with lots of pomp no matter the circumstance. I’m here to officially appeal to the Baseball Gods – and with apologies to Susan Powter – to plead for an end to this insanity! The Baseball season comes to a screeching halt every July as games conclude on a Sunday afternoon and don’t resume until the following Friday! What? This is just cruel. For the first 70 some odd years after the All-Star Game, regular season play began again on Thursdays, with a smattering of Wednesday games even being scheduled occasionally over the years. Last Sunday ended with my Metsies finishing an 8-2 homestand after a sweep of the Miami Marlins. Since that day, I’ve had to endure 5 baseball-free nights. 5 nights! What the hell am I supposed to do for 5 freakin’ nights?
Sunday Night: Threw up in my mouth a few times. Went for a highly modified “Iron Man” workout and was in bed by 8 crying myself to sleep. One night down.
Monday Night: Took the kids bowling. Sterling Bowl in New Hyde Park just across the Queens/Nassau border was a fun place to go when I was 13, 14 years old. For a few bucks, my buddies and I could hang out for a couple of hours bowling and make noises that we thought might impress some of the girls. So my 2 boys and I went out bowling in search of a good time and to kill time in the process. The girl at the counter gave me her best deal and I paid 40 bucks for us to bowl unlimited games for 2 hours plus the cost of renting bowling shoes. And my kids had recorded the 5 hour long Home Run Derby so they were able to watch that when we got back home. Two nights down.
Tuesday Night: Played hoops with the kids at the local park, taking advantage of the 8:52pm sunset. My guys are getting better, and my chest pains were only moderately crushing. Went home and fought the good fight in getting through 4 innings of the ASG. Three nights down.
Wednesday Night: Took the kids to the movies to see “Tammy.” This was another cinematic tour de force from this generation’s Meryl Streep, the always-rollicking Melissa (Rotund Matt) McCarthy. Now, Ms. McCarthy is actually very funny usually, but in smaller doses as a scene-stealer extraordinaire, such as her role in the underrated but whiny Judd Apatow film, “This is 40.“ This one though was short on laughs and long on “ewww”, as a formerly seductive Susan Sarandon paraded throughout the movie with gray hair-looking old and nothing like she did in the lemon scene in “Atlantic City.” At least the theater had all-recliner seating so just like at home, you could be a fat slob eating Hot Tamales and extra trans-fat infused popcorn while you watched. Four nights down.
Thursday Night: Started shaking during dinner. Flop sweat soaked my shirt like Albert Brooks in “Broadcast News.” Sneaked upstairs and watched 2 innings of Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball with Bob Ojeda doing color on SNY. Trembling in my temple subsided a bit. Five nights mercifully down.
Baseball, I’ve missed you terribly. Please don’t do this to me any more.