The end date to this madness depends on what kind of year it's been, but I typically set the line at September 15. Sometimes mother nature will grant a reprieve on September 1st, but you can't count on it. So here on August 18, we're about 1/3 of the way through the 45 days of hell. With that in mind, let's hit the bullets and let this post reflect our frayed yet hopeful mental states.
-First: the Little League World Series starts on Saturday. When I was a kid, I loved the Little League World Series. I dreamed of playing in it, I rooted hard for the American teams, and I was glued to the television. Now that I'm older...I love the Little League World Series. I dream of playing in it. I root even harder for the Americans. I'll scream at anyone who comes between me and the tv.
Seriously, it's an awesome event. These kids just keep getting better and better at baseball, but their emotions are still completely raw. I would argue that a kid playing in the LLWS cares more about his team's fortunes than a major leaguer playing in the actual World Series. In fact, I just decided I'm going to write a post on Friday about the top 10 reasons I love the LLWS.
I read this morning that Tom's River, New Jersey won their regional last night. The only reason this caught my eye is because I still remember the 1998 Tom's River team that won the whole thing. I was 15 at that point, but for two weeks I definitely idolized the 12 year-old (and younger) players on that team. Todd Frazier- who wore his hat tilted up and had sort of a toothy smile- was my favorite, and when I googled the team just now, it turns out he's a top prospect in the Reds organization, currently playing for AAA Louisville. So there ya go.
-The Yanks had a nice rebound win last night, beating Detroit 6-2 on CC's 7 strong innings. Ursa Major notched his 16th win of the season, and Robbie hit his 22nd home run. The game was on the MLB Network, meaning I didn't have to jump through hoops to hook up my computer to the tv and pray for the crappy video feed not to skip. What a great channel, by the way. At some point I'll have to write a homage.
-Speaking of Robbie, he's in a bit of a slide this month. Since August 1st, he's batting .232 with only two multi-hit games all month. His overall average has dropped 16 points, and he's now fifth in the American League at .322. Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton keeps getting hotter up in Texas, and is currently at .359. Robbie's shot at the batting title, which seemed so strong in the first half of the season, is getting longer all the time. It would now take an extraordinary hot streak, along with a prolonged slump by Hamilton, to make it happen.
-The World Basketball Championships start next Saturday. This event only concerns me insofar as Coach K is at the helm. From a selfish standpoint, I wish he wasn't. He's not getting any younger, and there was a lot of talk that the Olympics wore him out in '08. I'm not sure how substantial any of it was, but still, dedicating months of your energy to a team that has to win a 2-week tournament overseas has to be taxing. This year's Duke team will be incredibly exciting and young, and they need the full benefit of Coach K's leadership and wisdom to transition from raw talent to tournament contenders. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but if the WBC detracts from that in any way, it'd be a shame.
-Don't you hate waking up with a song stuck in your head? At first it seems kinda cool, but it quickly becomes really grating. In the first moment, you're like 'oh sweet, I'm still singing 'Hang on Sloopy' up in the old brain.' But when you've brushed your teeth and are eating your cereal, it starts getting pretty old. And then I always have that moment where I'm like "oh God, what if I can never stop singing 'Hang On Sloopy' in my head??? What then? Will I go crazy? Will I be the first person to go crazy because of that song??" And then you spiral into a panic, and the next thing you know you're running naked through the parking lot of your building, and then you're on the ground, and you think about your circumstances, and you start singing "I'm cold and I'm ashamed, lying naked on the floor," and then you go into a full rendition of "Torn" by Natalia Imbruglia, and you're like 'sweet, a new song.' Always happens.
-I played in a dodgeball tournament last night, and my team finished third. I won't bore you with the details, but holy shit, dodgeball is just as fun as I remember from middle school. I highly recommend playing dodgeball if you ever have a chance. The game gets a bad rap because it's the typical bad memory go-to for sports-haters who later become writers or comedians or whatever. They moan about the bullies and the fear and the brutality and etc. But here's the truth: it doesn't hurt to get hit by a kickball. It might hurt for a second, but in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty tame. Also, hitting another person with a dodgeball is a thrill. If you can't enjoy it, something's wrong with you. It's pretty much the closest you can come to hunting another human without joining the army. Last night, my friend Nick and I did a two-person charge on this guy from the other team, and you could see the terror in his eyes. He back-pedaled, we pegged, and we both missed. The terror became relief, and just as we saw the change in his eyes, my friend Josh came from the blind side and absolutely obliterated him. It was glorious and primal.
-At what point is it okay to wish for Brett Favre to be seriously injured? I don't think I'm there yet, but the fact that the whole back-and-forth about his retirement is happening again is pulling me ever closer. I logged on to ESPN the other day, and before I could navigate to the MLB page, I had to see streaming video of John Clayton discussing Favre like it was life or death news. John Clayton creeps me out anyway, and to hear him talking about Favre like some kind of rapt lackey makes me want to take a long shower.
Weird trivia: Clayton actually played football for Duquesne University. And now that I'm reading more about him, I feel kinda bad for saying he creeps me out.
-Last, I hope this is real: