Monday, October 11, 2010
The Minnesota Walkover
And here's a Robbie Cano sneak attack from the celebration:
Before we begin in earnest, two stories that will give my legions of female readers* an idea of what it's like to be saddled with me as a boyfriend:
**My dad had a sex change.***
***What am I even talking about?****
^I'm eating an apple.#
#This is a blog.
A) My Uncle Tommy is in town. He's my mom's brother, and easily one of the five funniest people I know. He's got four daughters, he always seems slightly run ragged, but he's always smiling and, like everyone else on that side of the family, has unlimited energy. He's also incredibly quick with an insult. I attribute this partly to being from a big family. My mom is one of six siblings. When they're all together, watching them in action is a great show. Nobody pulls any punches. That includes the grandparents. I imagine most people have nice, gentle, doting grandpas and grandmas. My grandfather, on the other hand, once convinced me when I was very young that I could make my own wet-naps by dipping a napkin in cat urine.
In the big picture, the family members are very loyal to each other. But face to face, they're like a pack of wolves looking for even the slightest moment of weakness. I'm not sure if it's because growing up with so many kids put them constantly on the defensive, and they learned to be witty as a pre-emptive strike, or what. But you can not slip up in their presence, even a little. They're too smart and fast to let it slide.
Anyway, I spent the entire day with my Uncle and his daughter while they looked at UNC, and his style and mannerisms infected me. When I came home later that night, the girlfriend and I were both on our computers. At one point she called me over, very excited to show me something. She was watching an episode of "Nip Tuck," and she paused it to show me a screen shot. "Look," she said, pointing to a bottle of Clos Du Val wine a character was holding. "That's our wine!"
"Oh my God," I said. "You brought me over here to show me that? It's a common wine. Do you get excited when someone drinks a Pepsi on tv?"
It was vintage Uncle Tommy. I even spoke with his inflection. I thought I was being hilarious. And the thing is, I actually have no idea if Clos Du Val a common wine. I don't know the first thing about wine. The only 'common wine' I could name is Franzia. I was just being a douche. And when I glanced up, my girlfriend had the look of someone who had just been slapped by a stranger. Unlike me, she was apparently reared among kind, supportive people who take less delight in well-placed mockery. This is why I try not to spend too much time with family.
B) Later in the night, after she'd forgiven me, we were watching the end of the Phillies game. "Is that Cole Hamels?" she asked. "He is so sexy."
I told her she wasn't allowed to say that, just like I did when she said the same things about Joe Mauer. This time, however, I had a plan. When the game was over, I turned her attention to the TBS interview. Lucky for me, Hamels has a weirdly high voice. I could tell it put her off. "It sounds like he just inhaled helium," she said. I thought the attraction had been quelled, but then she said "that's okay, he doesn't need to talk." I knew I had to act fast. So I brought out the big guns: I did an imitation of Cole Hamels having a long, extended, high-pitched orgasm.
Easily one of the most shameful moments of my life. But it did the trick: "yup, you killed it for me," she said.
Okey doke. With that out of the way, let's get to some thoughts on the playoffs, starting with the Yanks:
1) What an absolute walkover. I can't tell if the Yankees were really good, or if the Twins were really bad, or both. I mean it; I'm proud of our guys for flipping the playoff switch, but I'm not sure exactly what I can infer about our chances in the next round or the World Series. Minnesota looked lifeless. Can you imagine being a Twins fan right now? It must seem hopeless. Every year, after winning the Central, you meet the brick wall of a Yankee powerhouse. This year was the worst of the bunch. Following two heartbreaking home losses, you have to deal with the fact that your team will almost certainly end their season in the Bronx, in front of a hostile crowd gunning for a gaudy 28th title. And then, before game 3, Twins fans got this news: Gardenhire's contract is about to be extended. Way to kick a man while he's down, Twins management.
I'm not saying the loss was Gardenhire's fault, or even that he's a bad manager. But a lot of Twins fans hate him, and his playoff record is abysmal. I was browsing some Twins message boards this weekend, reveling in the post-victory glow, and the general sentiment there was 'great, we just signed up for a few more years of AL Central titles and first round exits.'
In some ways, it's bad luck. They held a lead in something absurd like 8 of their postseason losses to the Yanks before Saturday's laugher. Along with a superior payroll, a bigger media market, and better pitching, the Yanks also seem to be clutchier, luckier, and heart-ier (all real words). It hardly seems fair.
2) But then again, fuck Twins fans. At least they can still ice skate and exchange tales from Norse mythology. At least they still have Brett Favre and his interesting habit of sending photos of his own penis to every female he meets in passing. At least they still have the North Stars.
3) High marks for this series go to all three starting pitchers, Boone Logan, Mariano, Jeter, Swisher, Teixeira, Granderson, Jorge, and Marcus Thames. In other words, almost everyone. Average marks go to A-Rod, Robbie Cano, and David Robertson. Low marks go to Kerry Wood, who fulfilled my friend Nick's prophecy that he'd choke it up when the pressure was on. Goddamn Cubs fans and their infectious pessimism.
4) The importance of yesterday's Rays victory cannot be overstated. By forcing a game 5, the Rays ensure that David Price and Lee match up on Tuesday. That means they won't be able to pitch on Friday, game 1 against the Yanks, and can only pitch Saturday if they go on short rest. Price, I imagine, would do that. Lee would not. So best case scenario is that Texas wins, and Lee is unavailable until game 3. But either way, we'll have CC ready in game 1 against the other team's #2. That's a huge advantage.
5) Sweet Betsy, the Phillies are good. Shouldn't the Giants and Braves just stop playing? Shouldn't someone tap them on the shoulder and be like "guys, it's cool. You can go home"? 'Cause ain't either of 'em gonna slow down the Philly machine. If Hamels can pitch like he did last night into the World Series, even the AL teams will be in for a nightmare.
6) Joe Posnanski wrote a great article about the incredible pitching performances from Hallady and Lincecum, and how, despite Halladay's no-no, the second effort might have been the best.
7) As if we needed more proof that playoff baseball is all about pitching: The Cincinnati Reds led the National league in runs, average, RBI, slugging, OPS, home runs, and total bases. In three games against the Phillies, they scored 4 runs.
8) I badly need to catch up on school work, but at the same time I'm a little upset that there's no Yankee baseball until Friday. I can't remember enjoying three games as much as I enjoyed the wins over Minnesota this past week. As of now, this season feels a little like a happy bonus from last year. I'm less tense, less pessimistic, and not weighed down with the memory of the dark years (2001-2008). I'm riding high, baby!
9) Hey Duke students: how do I get into midnight madness this Friday? Is it just for students? Can any of you crazy SOBs get me an ID for the night, or something? I really, really want to go. I will pay you generously and mention your name on the blog in a highly positive context. If you're underage, I will buy you alcohol illegally. Please don't respond if you're an undercover cop.
10) Don't you hate when you can think of 9 things to write, but that last one just escapes you? Me too. Here's a picture of Cano looking calmly into the distance: