*I planned to watch the various games with some friends in Park Slope. By the time I left my place, at about 7:40, the Yanks already trailed the Sawx 4-0. Beckett looked untouchable and I knew we were cooked. AJ Burnett is truly awful in the big moment; that acquisition is looking worse all the time. Five years and 82.5 large for this, really? Here's the trajectory I predict: a year and a half of disappointment, an elbow injury that eats up another season, and two years of 'recovery,' the kind replete with 91mph fastballs and hanging curves, before the eventual release. Maybe there'll be a depressing month where he tries to learn a knuckle ball and the over-zealous Yankee media prattles on about a resurgence. And that's it. Voila. Baseball Nostradamus strikes again.
Here's what I wrote after his last start:
Call me ungrateful or pessimistic, but AJ needs to find a way to deal with this [focus lapse] post haste. If he doesn't, I'm not sure he's viable as a big-game pitcher. Right now, his record is 4-2. The scores of the games he won were 11-2, 7-2, 9-2, and 12-3. In other words, he's great in a blow-out. But the four games the Yankees lost when AJ started were against Boston, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Three AL East rivals and the reigning world champions. The pitchers he faced in those games were Josh Beckett, Andy Sonnanstine, Roy Halladay, and Brett Myers. Other than the Boston game, when Beckett also imploded, he was outdueled by the big names.
Another big game against a another big rival facing another big pitcher equals another big loss. Walks, hanging junk, fastballs up in the zone...a total lack of mental control. I'm ready to proclaim AJ Burnett a disaster. The sad thing is, he'll still get his wins against the dregs of the AL, when the line-up does its usual damage. It's a little like A-Rod jacking parabolic dingers in the first five innings against Kansas City. Big fucking deal, man.
*By the time I reached the first bar, called the "Voodoo Sports Lounge," my pals were already in their seats looking miserable. Not because of the game, mind you- they were Red Sox fans- but because of the bar. It was an empty, dim little nightmare with televisions the size of my computer screen (albeit with less definition) and four dollar bottles of Bud. We stayed for about two innings while the bartender struggled in vain to change channels, a difficulty probably stemming from the arrangment of wire coat hangers, and a timid-looking person approached to ask if we wanted to perform stand-up at his new open mic night. All the optimism and excitement of what should have been a great night in sports drained into a puddle of mid-week languor.
Here's a HILARIOUS (read: obnoxious) cartoon that's only slightly topical (I googled 'languor,' which yielded pictures of monkeys and females in languorous, artistic poses, and tried 'apathy,' which I realize now is not the same thing. This post is a mess.) and that you'll probably see on a hated boss' door someday. Please notice the title of the comic; it's drawn by a guy whose last name is Fitz, and therefore is called...If The Shoe Fitz. Perfect.
*Speaking of puddles, on our walk to the next place I stepped in an inch-deep watery morass near a cluster of trash cans and had this exchange with my friend Alex:
Alex: That's disgusting.
Me: It's clean.
Alex: That is not clean.
Me: You could drink from that puddle and wake up a healthier man.
Alex: That is pure New York City trash water.
*We ambled four blocks south to a bar called 200 Fifth, which is an establishment in direct ideological opposition to the Voodoo Sports Lounge. You walk in, blink if you're lucky, and immediately engage a frontal blitz of unrepentant American modernity, all brightness and noise. Televisions cover every free inch of the interior, including duel sets hanging above each table and a gigantic big screen near the back. The onslaught comes complete with harried waiters, screaming fans, and lonely half-drunk men sitting by themselves, pining for companionship and offering their unwanted mercenary fandom to whichever team is in vogue.
*Stupidly, I ordered a $7 theme drink called "Kryptonite," which the apologetic waiter told me was "really just kinda based on the game." It turned out to be a combination of watered-down vodka and yellow food dye, I think. One of my great weaknesses in life is ordering ridiculous menu items that have a zero percent chance of satisfying. Really, once I saw the drink special section, it was a matter of choosing between the "Black Mamba," "Superman," and "Kryptonite." Abstaining was not within my skill set.
*I left to go watch the third period of the Detroit-Pittsburgh game from the comfort of home. I don't know why, but I'm rooting for the Red Wings in this one, so that didn't work out. And then the Magic-Lakers game stretched to midnight, precluding a good night's sleep.
WORST NIGHT EVER GUYS.
*Good thing Chien-Ming Wang is about to shock the world with an 8-inning, four-hit performance tonight. We really, really need to win a game against Boston. This is getting silly. The mental edge is becoming undeniable, and if it gets any worse I might start raving about a curse. Oh wait, I've already done that. MOOOOOOSSEEEEE!!!!!!