Except the policy of the networks, designed to maintain suspense later into the evening and prolong viewership and therefore ratings, dictated that states could not be officially counted for one side or the other before the polls closed. So in the seconds leading up to 11pm, the channels did a one minute countdown. I was watching CNN, and they pulled a neat little trick; the graphic on the screen accompanying the countdown only advertised the closing of the western polls. But when the clock reached zero, Wolf Blitzer projected an overall win for Obama.
This led to a very cool situation at election-watch parties across the country. All night, when polls closed, people had been doing the countdowns, and by now it was old hat. So at 11 eastern, when everyone expected more state announcements, they gave a practiced cheer as time ran out. Then, when the picture of Obama and the words "43rd President of the United States" flashed on screen, those tepid plaudits erupted into cries of delirium. You can find the videos everywhere online (if you're a liberal or democrat, knock yourself out all morning on this site), and they all feature that same hum becoming applause becoming extreme jubilation.
Again, anyone with an iota of mathematical foresight knew the election was over before the dramatic countdown. I figured it out about an hour earlier when they finally called Ohio. The conversation with my friend went like this:
Me: It's over, man. He won.
Friend: Well, it looks good, but we're not sure.
Me: No, it's actually, empirically over. McCain can't win unless he wins California, and that just won't happen.
Friend: Don't jinx it, dude.
But if you were supertitious, very drunk, or not paying attention, it was a great moment where a moderate, expectant happiness turned in an instant to shocked glee, followed by tears and hugs and massive celebration. It was like waiting for a test grade, hoping to pass, and finding out you got an A, or hitting a long approach on a blind uphill par 5, feeling good about the shot, and walking to the green to find that it rolled in for a double eagle.
Yo, what is the point of all this??
Well, friends, it's a special day in Yankee-land, and I'd like to re-create that sense of unbridled joy. Unfortunately, I don't command the kind of respect or devoted following necessary to engineer even a half-smile, so I've enlisted Anderson Cooper and his piercing blue eyes to help me out. Take it way, Coop.
Anderson Cooper, after being handed a new piece of paper by an assistant, scanning it, and sitting up stiffly:
Okay...Ladies and Gentleman, we have some pretty big news here. First, we're ready to call that for the first time since 1944, the New York Yankees have won a series in Anaheim.
Second...second, now...CNN is ready to project that the New York Yankees will win the American League East.
And now...yes...yes, ladies and gentleman, CNN can officially project that the New York Yankees will also have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and will finish the year with the best record in baseball!
Thanks Anderson. Nice work as usual, even though that last picture was kinda small. Now, in the spirit of guest bloggers, I'd like to introduce a new feature:
(Those two pictures are the blog theme song for Dr. Numbers*
*Dr. Numbers is going to disappoint the shit out of everyone.)
And now...the Doctor is in!
HALLOOOO LADIES AND GERMS, IT'S TIME FOR THE FIRST EPISODE OF DOCTORRRRRRRRR....NUMMMMMMMMBERRRRRRRRS!!!!!!!11
THAT'S ME! WOLLA WOLLA WOLLA!*
(*Dr. Numbers' catch phrase is "wolla wolla wolla." Don't ask.)
ON TODAY'S SHOW, WOLLA WOLLA WOLLA,* WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT SOME YANKEE NUMBERS!!!
(*He basically says it all the time, you have to learn to ignore it.)
THE NUMBERS THAT FOLLOW ARE YANKEE GOALS, STARTING FROM MOST LIKELY, GOING DOWN TO LEAST!!!! WOLLA WOLLA WOLLA!
100: That's a goal for Yankee wins! They're at 97 now, with 9 games left. Boy howdy, it sure looks good!
20: Those are wins for CC Sabathia. With two starts left, he's at 18. It won't be easy, but with the way ole Charlie's been hurling, my money's on the fat man being the only 20-game winner in the bigs! WOLLA WOLLA WOLLA!
40: With three more dingers, Mark Teixeira can reach this total, likely putting him at the top of the league. And he's already there for RBI! More power than Mauer, yipppeee!
20: Twenty again?! Boy, with all these 20s, why aren't there any in my vision?!?!?!* These are the number of home runs Derek Jeter needs to become the 8th player to reach that total on the Yankees, setting a team MLB record. So far, Teixeira, Damon, Cano, Swisher, Matsui, A-Rod, and Posada have passed the mark. But Derek's been stuck at 17 for a while, sorta like a prostitute lying about her age to get more clientele!!!**
(*I'm so sorry about this.)
(**Whoa, seriously Dr. Numbers?)
100: RBI for A-Rod. He's at 89 now, and will need 11 in 9 games. Not easy, but not impossible. Now that Anderson Cooper has called home field advantage for the Yanks and the pressure's off, he's sure to succeed!*
(*Even Dr. Numbers takes shots at A-Rod's clutch abilities.)
3rd, 5th: Where Jeter and Cano can finish, respectively, in AL batting average with strong finishes. They're currently 4th and 6th.
WELL FOLKS, THAT'S BEEN ME, THE GOOD DOCTOR NUMBERS! TAKE YOUR MEDICINE, AND COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!!! WOLLA WOLLA WOLLA.
Man, that did not go well. Tomorrow's episode should be better, he's going to add some dance stuff and maybe a magic trick for kids with disabi...hold on a second, Anderson's back with a special announcement.
Anderson Cooper: Okay, folks, this is a big one. Word is trickling in from the blog networks, and CNN is NOW projecting that Dr. Numbers has been canceled.