Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Don't Stop Now, Derek

Derek Jeter Captain Clutch Mr. November is now only 3 hits away from tying the all-time Yankee hit record currently held by Lou Gehrig. Jetes is known for not paying attention to records, but this one has been hard to ignore, and the pressure may be having a small effect. He had a so-so road trip, capped off by three hits Sunday against Toronto, but in a doubleheader against the Rays yesterday he went a combined 0-8.

I bought tickets for the night game, thinking there was a decent chance he'd get a couple hits in the afternoon and break it at night. In that sense, it was a small disappointment. But the tickets were cheap and included free Yankee Audi Club passes (Bronx Bomber Trivia: What is the Yankee Audi Club? Answer: Some bourgeois bullshit a real fan never sees from the inside.), we snuck into great seats in right field, the good guys won, and we got to see two Teixeira blasts.

Also, there was an incident that gave me a wonderful, long-lasting opportunity to make fun of my girlfriend Emily. In the bottom of the 6th, at around 9:20 (more than two hours into the game, you'll note), Melky Cabrera got an infield single that scored a run. Emily clapped excitedly, leaned forward, stopped cold, looked at me with a confused expression, and dropped this gem:

Emily: Wait a minute...why is nobody announcing the game?

I stared at her, dumbfounded as possible, for two to three long seconds before it dawned on her that we were at the stadium in person and she mumbled something like "oh, because, we're...right. Right."

Keep in mind, this person has plans to become a doctor. Which strikes me as the kind of health care stuff Obama really needs to focus on. Hopefully he puts in some sort of safeguard. So anyway, the truly beneficial part of the game was that it gave me ammo to use against her forever. I'm pretty sure I'll never say something that hilariously dumb. The closest I've come so far is insisting that a polka is the same thing as a waltz, just with different instruments (not true, and strangely enough, that also happened at a Yankee game).

Anyway, the two wins yesterday seal Tampa's fate for good. They're not 7.5 games back of Boston for the wild card. Texas, too, can't seem to get anything going. It looks like despite my hopeful prediction a few weeks ago, the Sawx will indeed end up in the postseason. And they'll probably beat LA in the first round like always. And we'll just have to show them their proper place in the ALCS. I suppose some things (speaking in a British accent now, pulling on a long white glove) are...unavoidable.

The US Open is in full swing, and my hero (ahem) Rafael Nadal is through to the fourth round. He plays evil Frenchman Gael Monfils tonight for a chance at the quarters, and I'm going to try to attend if I can find a cheapish ticket. I've never seen the man in person, and ticket prices for any later round will be prohibitive. Monfils, who may not actually be evil, is playing incredible tennis, and this is must-see tv.

Whether I find a way to Flushing or not, it's been fantastic to see Rafa surge back. It's doubtful he'll be able to outright win the Open, since it's not his best surface and nobody's totally sure about his knees, but a QF appearance would serve notice that he's back and ready to contend for the majors next season. Also, I'm getting sick of Federer. It's not ingratitude, or even boredom, and he's still the undisputed best in history,* but his famous graceful bearing seems to be undergoing a slow transition into tactless arrogance.

*Who could never beat his main rival.

Check out this article from the Times a couple weeks ago regarding his RF monogram. I have no problem with the monogram itself- the guy's big enough to have a brand. Tiger Woods has one too. No issue. But I do have a problem with this:

No sooner had Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the 30th game of Wimbledon’s marathon fifth set than he put on a gold-monogrammed white warm-up jacket emblazoned with a “15” to commemorate his breaking Pete Sampras’s Grand Slam men’s victory record.

Really? You'd think he would have learned from Nadal that victory is never certain, even if you're Roger Federer. And Roddick came inches from taking him down in that epic final. I was rooting for Andy in the final, but now I really wish he'd won. And even if a championship does seem probable, to actually assume the victory, in any situation, is the worst kind of audacity; the kind that goes by names like egotistical, disdainful, and haughty. It puts a new spin on that quiet, unruffled grace Fed seems to demonstrate at all times. And I'm not trying to condemn him, because he might have been misled by his marketing people, or he might be naive enough to think that kind of thing is kosher. I don't know all the circumstances. But I do want to see him go down.

And who better to send him packing than El Toro, the Pirate Warrior, the Orca from Mallorca (last nickname pending popular approval)?

Vamonos, Rafa!

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