May 26, 2009

You probably wouldn’t think this was important, how this aligns chronologically. So what, if I’m writing this so many hours, days, months following a particular loss? Timing isn’t important, is it? Not as much as win or loss, anyway, though how much that’s important is unknown.

In a long-past nocturnal hallucination, I found a library book. A tiny thing, as if too small for its row. It was about you and your squad, with (I think) psychic ability having a thing or two to do with it. A typical hallucinatory twist. Typing out that story was my only opportunity to look at it. So I did.

It’s not around now. I got rid of it, I think, in humiliation (“My writing was that bad?”). It’s a common thought. (So why do I put my writing up on a public blog?)

Did anybody jinx you that night? I doubt it–that is to say, I doubt a jinx was at fault for your loss. You’d doubt it, wouldn’t you?

Last night, I was trying hard to find a Chicago broadcast with my radio. I thought of 2008, with its Chicago-Pittsburgh marathons. I didn’t want it to drag on, though. That matchup, Pittsburgh won.

I got to know its finish, but I couldn’t go unconscious following that. Not as quickly as I would want to. I want to say that I last saw my clock at 11:40: almost today, May 26. But was it 10:40? Who knows. If I had a hallucination, I forgot it.

Why am I writing a lipogram, of all things? For an “amount of difficulty bonus”? So I can think Oh, but could said prodigy do this? and not I wish I was that good?

Or, in doing a truly hard, uncommon task, do I push toward that which I cannot say?

Bottom of the Seventh

Twenty-six, twenty-seven? They should be your prime, in sports terms. For the Metrodome, though, this is the end.

There were two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Nick Punto singled. Top of the order; Gomez singled too, though it looked like E6 to me. Bring in the lefty.

Someone out of left field, I guess, whose T-shirt seemed like it bore the retro Brewers logo, jumped into left field. Security removed him from the field. This didn’t get into the Press or Tribune–no sense giving him glory? Oh well.

Then up stepped our Joe, gloriously returning from the DL by homering in the first inning.  He got hit, it turned out, but only following some dispute. Ron emerged from the dugout, provoking crowd cheers, while the scorer didn’t inform us of the hit-by-pitch (unlike the sixth inning, when we did see the “ruling” (everybody knew he’d gotten hit, why bother to put it up?) for the other Joe, Crede (who homered too).

Some supporter behind us told Justin to force retribution on the pitcher. Justin sent the first pitch he got over the floppy right-field “fence”.

Bring in the righty.

Only on the ride home did “four runs scored” sink in. I turned on one tiny light to see my pencil, noting Punto’s run on the thing I bought inside the dome. My beloved independent press sold out, now limited to one flimsy sheet telling us how to find the K/BB number (hint: divide Ks by BBs).

Then I turned the light off, riding into the suburbs.

If…

If you can keep your faith when all around you
Have long lost theirs and are laughing at you;
If you can trust that something will astound you
In every win, and in every loss too:
If you’re not tired by other teams’ defeating
You, or by the incessant rumor mill,
Or, when many cheat, don’t give way to cheating,
But play your best, with all your strength and will;

If you can dream, and slowly strive for glory,
If you can think (although you do not need
To be Billy Beane)–if you know your story
Is longer than one day, and avoid greed:
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And are not too ashamed to celebrate
The one, but do not sulk when some are faster
Or stronger–if you are content to wait;

If you are not content with long-gone winnings
But keep on striving with every last pitch,
Through batters and through half-innings and innings,
Until the pendulum of time will switch,
If you can urge your body and your spirit
To succeed when you’re twenty runs behind,
And, contemplating loss, don’t really fear it,
But strive to overcome it, flesh and mind;

If you can play for crowds or empty bleachers
Play Cardinals and Royals, yet remain
True to yourself, your most important features,
Neither too arrogant or far too plain:
And, always dreaming, never stoop to pity
Yourself in losing, when all’s said and done,
You will have earned the passion of a city.
And that will be enough to know you’ve won.

Raindrops

Not all sports fans think of rain how I do. You can’t stop a marathon and pick it up in sunlight, as far as I know, and NBA officials don’t worry about rainouts. Hoops action is fairly continuous–bouncing, passing, dribbling and running, shooting, scoring, doing it again. Track is also continuous. Running. Throwing and jumping too, but running is a basic action. It can’t finish two-thirds of its way through, not justly.

You could say a rainout is just as incongruous. But although it might not look fair, you can wrap your mind around it. For this sport is not as continuous as all sports; throwing, swinging, catching. Pausing. Writing it down. Pitching, hitting, running, sliding. Pausing. Standing up. Dusting your pants off. Throwing to first. Diving back. Pausing. Noting it. This allows us data that can’t go away. Statistics to maintain for analysis, atomic counts of balls and outs. You couldn’t halt a marathon–physical condition will not carry through to a following day–but this? This is all math, cold digits I can hold on to.

Houston 10, DC 10 (to be continued)

I’ve told you this before, but I’ll post it for time three or so; I’m no good when it comes to titling posts. So, when I’m covering specific sets of nine innings (or more, or less, of course), I’ll often just use their scores for my titles. This time, though, it’s not the true score. The competition will end in July, with more runs.

Just to the left of the box scores in the sports section this morning, two short sentences told me how it would pick up in three months. Fine. But the box score itself didn’t jibe. Yes, both scores were correct. But following the second 10, the words “to be continued” were not seen–just “tie, 11”.

I didn’t like this very much.