MLB 2014

OPENING DAY! I predict a total of 10 posts in this thread over the course of the season.
 
Anytime I can point and laugh at a fan of a Philadelphia team, it's a good day.
 
Pedroia pulls one out of his ass for the Sox. Finally. I'm starting to really hate the goddamn Orioles.
 
anteater_duel.jpg
 
Cubs appear to be playing normally. I fear my father may die w/o seeing them win a World Series. Came so close in 2000, or whenever that was - all but for that stupid fly ball incident w/ the Marlins.

The Miami Effing Marlins.
 
Michael Pineda, you're my hero. Suspected of cheating, you come back again and do it a second time, except in an even more obvious way so you're bound to get caught. Fantastic!

What was the thinking there? That pine tar matched his Latin skin tone???
 
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If you haven't been keeping up with Derek Jeter's Diary, you need to start now:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/derek-jeters-diary-its-time/
Derek Jeter’s Diary: It’s Time
Captain's Log

February 13, 2014
by Mark Lisanti
Print

jeter_babe_retire_lg.jpg

The baseball season is a long and lonely road. And so is the offseason. To preserve his sanity, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter keeps a diary. These are excerpts from The Captain’s private journal.

Tuesday, February 12
It’s time.

You never thought you’d write those words in your diary.

You never thought you’d even think those words. Or the next words in the sentence:

To retire.

But there they are.

And it’s true: It’s time. It’s something you just know. It’s something you feel. It’s something you realize, laying awake in the middle of the night, before you fade into your pre–spring training lucid-dreaming drills, where you control the outcome of every batted ball, of every play in the field. You can even control the weather in Tampa, monsoons, hail, whatever. You can fly, though that’s not very helpful for baseball preparation, as that’s not a legal part of the game and never should be. These are very powerful exercises. And they will be crucial as we try to win a 28th championship this year. But even they can’t help you ignore what you know to be true.

It’s time.

So you go over the official announcement, again and again, getting it perfect. It’s not easy. You’re a baseball player, not a retirement notice writer. You send it off to your agent, who gives it to the Facebook people, who somehow publish it on a Facebook page. The details of how that happens are not important. What’s important is that there’s no going back once you’ve told the public. It’s out there. It’s on the news. It’s on SportsCenter. It’s on various Pinterest boards, which you didn’t know was a thing until someone showed you the announcement next to a photo of a crying Care Bear with an interlocking N.Y. on its tummy. The Care Bear has Chuck Knoblauch’s face, which is a little unsettling. You were never even that close; he might be sad for other reasons.

So now the world has its version of your statement. But the one you write in your diary is only for you.

It’s time.

You know it because the Core Four is down to a Core Captain. Mo and Andy stepped away last year. Robbie Cano took an offer he couldn’t refuse unless he cared more about winning and tradition than money. Alex is taking a hiatus of 162 games. Boonie left. Hughes and Joba are gone, possibly to other major league baseball teams, you can’t follow every tiny bit of offseason news. The clubhouse is going to be filled with new guys. A new catcher. A new center fielder. A new right fielder. A new starter from Japan. An even skinnier CC Sabathia.

You know it because there’s only a tiny blank spot on the beautiful canvas of your career where a sixth championship will go, right in the middle of the other five rings, your Yankee Draft Day, The Flip, The Dive, The 3,000th-Hit Homer, The Mo Mound Hug, The Gift Basket, assorted N.Y. Post covers, various Miss Universe pageant winners and world-famous actresses with question marks where their faces should be, because it’s important to keep your private life private, even on your mind-canvas.

You know it because there’s still another canvas to fill up with memories, one for a postcareer life that will be every bit as rewarding as your playing days. There will be a perfect wife to be named later, because all former candidates depicted on the earlier canvas are ineligible. There will be two children, Derek Sanderson Steinbrenner Jeter 2 and Lil Captain, both of whom will be professional athletes in another sport, because you’d never allow them to be swallowed by the shadow of your legacy. There will be all the best sellers from the book imprint that saved publishing. There will be a large section devoted to the great consolidation of professional baseball in New York you engineer when you buy, and then immediately disband, the Mets, because they’ve embarrassed the city you love for long enough. It’s a very big canvas because you have a lot of free time in retirement and the desire to achieve greatness never leaves you.

But most important, you know it because even after all this healthy self-reflection, you still have questions, so you burn the sacred Inner Circle Yankee incense in the Chamber of Legends and conjure forth Yogi Berra himself, who stands there silently for a long time, looking as if he’d suddenly been awakened from a long nap. But eventually he seems to get his bearings, and you ask him, point blank, for his opinion. And then he makes himself an elaborate sandwich from the Infinite Buffet by Aramark, scarfing down the entire thing before shrugging and responding:

It’s time when it’s time.

It sounds a lot like what you’ve already come up with on your own, but much wiser, because there is so much knowledge gained after you retire and cross over to the Pinstripe Forever. Which apparently doesn’t have quality lunch meats, because Yogi makes himself a sandwich for the road before tipping his cap and disappearing without another word.

But you have your answer. You know, finally. One hundred percent.

One more season.

One more championship.

One more spot on the canvas to fill.

It’s time.



Wednesday, February 13
There’s a knock at the window at exactly 3 a.m. I get up to see what it is.

It’s a crow. A crow larger than any crow I’ve ever seen. A crow the size of Andy Stankiewicz.

It stretches a leg toward me. A scroll is tied to it with a leather lace.

I read the scroll:

Dear Captain,

The timing of your Retirement is inconvenient.

This was to be my Retirement year alone.

There is not Ample room for two Retirements.

But what is Done is Done.

And so in public I shall sing Hosannas to you.

But in private I shall Curse your name

And work to destroy your Legacy

So that nothing remains but Despair and Ruin.

Just as I did to The A-Rod.

No one is bigger than Our Game

but The Commissioner,

Who holds the Power of Life and Death.

Yours,

A.H. Selig

Commissioner of the Base-Ball

I carefully place the scroll down on the end table, hand still shaking. All you can do is take deep breaths and tell yourself in calm tones that the late-night threat-scroll isn’t going to ruin your final season of professional baseball, and hope for the best. But just as the shakes subside, there’s another scraping noise. Coming from somewhere in the bedroom this time.

I stand quietly, trying to find the source.

I cross the room. I can hear it right in front of me.

Inside the wardrobe.

Another scrape. Gentler this time. Like it knows I’m near.

The wardrobe door opens just a crack, as if by magic.

And a hoof emerges. Almost tenderly.

I take a deep breath and swing open the door.

And then I see him.

“Hey, Jetes.”

He’s holding luggage.
 
Jesus, he should get an award for this shit:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/derek-jeters-diary-the-final-season-begins/
Derek Jeter's Diary: The Final Season Begins
  • by Mark Lisanti Is An Editor At Grantland. Archive @ Marklisanti
  • April 16, 2014
  • 9 min read
  • original
The baseball season is a long and lonely road. And so is the offseason. To preserve his sanity, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter keeps a diary. These are excerpts from The Captain’s private journal.

Tuesday, April 1, at Houston Astros, Opening Day

When just about everything in your career has played out perfectly, like a beautiful picture you’ve spent 20 years painting across the canvas of your life, you might expect that your final Opening Day would also play out exactly as you would have wished. A crisp April afternoon at the Stadium, in front of the best fans in the world, who are there to celebrate the beginning of another championship season. That’s all you ever want on Opening Day. Your city, your crowd, your first win of the year. Maybe you go 1-for-3, or 2-for-5 with a double and a steal, or even 0-for-5; the individual result doesn’t matter, just as long as you’re getting that W for the team.

But baseball’s a funny game. We’re in Houston, weirdly, the same place where last season ended, that nightmare season of no playoffs and a thousand injuries and 140-something games of sitting on the sideline, not helping the team win. You hate to express disappointment about spending Opening Day in Houston instead of the Bronx, the schedule is what it is, and sometimes you open your final year in a breakfast juice ballpark with no history, a hill in center field for no good reason, and a sad Thomas the Tank Engine living above the left-field wall, waiting to choo-choo around for a meaningless homer for a last-place team. Sometimes you send your ace to the hill, hoping to get him back on track after a down season, only to watch him struggle out there, robbed of his good fastball by age and some kind of flesh-eating disease no one talks about, trying not to notice the way he cradles the phantom girth of his midsection in the dugout in between innings, like a mother who misses her baby. Sometimes you’re hit with a pitch in your first at-bat, and you watch as things go south from there, the bats never wake up, and the team never really gets it going. Sometimes you head back to the showers without that W, listening to the annoying little train that circles the clubhouse blowing its taunting victory whistle, because maybe not all organizations have the class part of things worked out just yet.

I head back to the hotel room, ready to forget a day that didn’t go as planned. But as soon as I walk in, I find a plate of rotting ribs on the desk, with a fork sticking out of them, holding some parchment in place. It says:

Dear Captain,

I told you this is My Year.

Did you not believe me?

And so I’ve sent you back to Hou’s Town to suffer yet again, in the place where your worst Season ended in Ignominy.

How did the Beaning feel, Captain? Does it still Sting? Can you still hear the Chin Music I ordered for you?

It is just the opening strains of the Chin Orchestra I shall personally conduct for you.

Enjoy your Farewell Tour.

I shall be watching.

Yours,

A.H. Selig

Commissioner of the Base-Ball.

Post Script — The ribs are Jeffrey Maier. He was Succulent.

This was definitely not how I pictured my final Opening Day.

Wednesday, April 2: at Houston Astros

The Astros are doing the best they can playing host to the beginning of my last season. You appreciate the effort, you do. But you’re never going to be comfortable with the whole thing, because it’s not like they’re going to have little ceremonies for all 25 guys and take the spotlight off you and put it back on the team, where it belongs. For one thing, that could get expensive, and franchises like Houston would be better served spending their money on some players instead of gifts, even though you’d hate to tell anyone how to run their business.

They brought in Pettitte to throw out the first pitch. That was a nice touch, though it was a painful reminder of the years he left us to play in Houston. They also gave me pinstriped cowboy boots, a Stetson (not pinstriped), a set of golf clubs, and a white-hot no. 2 branding iron which they politely asked me to use to mark all their shortstops while the sellout crowd looked on. You don’t care what the local tradition is, you’re not pressing your number into some other player’s lower back, even if he begs you to.

And then we went out there and played terribly. You’d never blame it on the awkward branding thing, but that definitely didn’t help. The shortstops all wound up doing it to themselves anyway. On one level you’re flattered they want to wear your number, but not like that, not with all the screaming and the smell of burning flesh. Houston’s a very strange place.

This road trip is just starting and it can’t be over soon enough.

Thursday, April 3: at Houston Astros

In a season that will have so many lasts, it feels important to stop and enjoy the firsts. Our first W. My first RBI of the year, even though that doesn’t matter. The new kid Yangervis’s first start and first hit. D-Rob’s first save as Mariano’s successor.

In the locker room, Solarte asks me to sign his ball. I try to explain that it’s his hit, it’s not supposed to have my name on it. I’ll give him a signed ball, the whole personalized gift basket if he wants it, but he should sign his own ball, put it in his trophy case. It’s something to show his kids one day, just like how every Saturday morning I’ll escort my future children through any of the six Halls of Memories (one for each ring I already have, plus this year’s) in the Championship Wing of the Tampa house, reliving the best years of my life with them. Solarte seems a little disappointed by the explanation and insists I sign the ball anyway, which I do, because his counteroffer involves the branding iron and (a) I already established that’s something I’m not comfortable with, and (b) I’ve been told nobody else on the Yankees gets to wear the number 2 after this year. That’s not my decision, it’s a management thing. It’s out of your hands whether or not they bestow an incredible honor on you. You just have to respect their wishes on stuff like that.



Friday, April 4: at Toronto

Here’s another first: Tanaka’s first start in America, as a Yankee. And first W. It’s just an incredibly special thing to toil away in obscurity in Japan, serving basically as an indentured baseball servant over there, and finally get the chance to win in the big leagues. If there’s one thing about it that’s not great, it’s that he gets to sign a $150 million contract before ever throwing a pitch in the majors, because players should really have to pay their dues over here before getting life-changing money like that. But the system is what it is. You get to dominate in another country for a few years and then have your dreams come true in America. That’s something for the union to fix if it wants to. It’s outside of a Captain’s responsibilities, especially a retiring one.

One nice surprise: I got to chat before the game with the scout who signed me. “Pretty good choice, huh?” he jokes. I remind him that I went sixth in the draft.

“I don’t even remember who went first!” he says.

I shrug and pretend I don’t know, either.

But I know.

Phil Nevin gets the gift basket every year on the anniversary.

The note says, “Bill, thank you for the motivation. —DJ2″

Monday, April 7: vs. Baltimore Orioles

You try to tell yourself it’s just another Opening Day.

But it’s not just another Opening Day. It’s your last Opening Day at the Stadium, in front of the greatest fans in the world. Our city, our crowd, our first home win of the year. You hate to repeat yourself, but it didn’t go so well in Houston, so it feels good to run back the thought under better circumstances so that it’s like the other one never happened. That’s the power of writing. The journaling coach taught you that a long time ago, that the winners rewrite history, so take advantage of that in your diary. Maybe you flip back to 2001 and erase Luis Gonzalez and 2004 to wipe out Dave Roberts. You won’t, but you could.

You’d be lying if you said you weren’t excited about a moment like this, maybe even have some Opening Day nerves. You’re human and have emotions and feelings, you’re not a baseball robot, even if at times you operated with a ruthless and mechanical efficiency. You have to tell yourself it’s OK to have butterflies, as long as those butterflies are just as committed to winning as you are.

But after that first pitch, it’s game on. No more nerves. You’re still here to win another championship, nothing less. One last parade through the Canyon of Heroes, along the Sidewalk of Victory, and down the Avenue of Immortals. Today’s win was a tiny step toward that goal. We’ll need to take about another 100 baby steps to get there. We’re all ready.

After the game, Yogi drops by my locker, holding a sandwich. You hope it wasn’t the same sandwich from back in February, but you feel like it would be disrespectful to ask, because maybe the lunch meats from the Infinite Buffet keep a long time. Either way, it’s not like a sub full of expired capicola’s going to kill Yogi at this point, he’s been through too much.

He leans in and whispers to me.

“If you get 10 rings, you live forever.”

I look down at this hands. He’s wearing all 10 rings.

“It ain’t over till forever.”

He shrugs, takes a bite of the sandwich, and walks away.

I look around an Opening Day locker room at the Stadium for the last time.

No Andy. No Mo. No Jorgie.

There’s Beltran. And Ichiro. Tanaka. Ellsbury, somehow. Brian Roberts? The remaining half of C.C. Five relievers you’ve never seen before, or possibly new bat boys.

Across the clubhouse, Solarte and Dean Anna are branding each other with the iron. They both give me two thumbs-up, point proudly to their new numbers.

The entire place smells like barbecue.

Like ribs.

All that matters is winning this last one. Time is running out. Some of us will never get to 10 rings.

Sunday, April 13: vs. Boston Red Sox

We take three of four from the Red Sox, but Girardi sits me the last two games because of a sore quad. We’re not going to have a repeat of last year, he tells me. Not in your last season. We gotta keep you healthy, he says. I fight him on it, both times, but in the end he gets his way, because he’s the manager, and a good Captain has to respect that authority, even when it’s misguided. Sometimes you have to lead by the example of pretending to agree with somebody who thinks they know more about your body than you do.

I go home and I’m still thinking about it as I watch the highlights. You can’t let yourself get caught up in one series in April. You know deep down, in the winning place, that all pre-postseason games are equally meaningless, baby steps, means to a championship end. But you still want to play. You always want to play. Especially now, when you know you’re not going to play forever.

I hear something in the other room and mute the TV. The creak of a cabinet door.

Then something banging around in the kitchen.

Then another sound. An approaching sound.

Clop clop clop.

Clop clop clop.

I look up and A-Rod is standing next to the couch, towering above me, powerful haunches silhouetted by the darkness of the living room.

“I sensed you were sad, Jetes.”

“I’m not sad, Alex.”

He crouches down on his front legs, almost a bow. There’s something simultaneously regal and submissive about it.

“I made you a snack.”

He places a tray on the coffee table in front of me. There’s a giant salad bowl full of what seem to be Lucky Charms marshmallows and an entire pitcher of grapefruit juice.

“That’s very nice of you, Alex.”

“Why are you sad, Jetes?”

“I’m not sad.”

“Are you sad because Girardi sat you twice? I’ve been there.”

“I’m not sad.”

“Do you want to know why I’m sad?”

“Sure.”

He crouches down again and grabs the salad bowl. He attempts to pour all the marshmallows into his mouth. Purple stars and yellow moons cascade everywhere.

“It gets lonely inside the wardrobe.”

“I never technically invited you to live in there.”

“I have no choice, Jetes. No one can see me until the suspension’s over.”

He gulps down the pitcher of juice, licks his lips to clear the technicolor marshmallow fragments clinging there.

“So, thank you for letting me live inside your wardrobe, Jetes. You’re a good friend.”

He waits for me to return the compliment, but I just sit silently, staring at the TV. Beltran homers in slow motion, his third of the season.

I hear him clop off to the bedroom.

Then the creaking of the wardrobe doors opening.

“I’m right here if you need me, Jetes. Don’t be sad.”

The wardrobe doors bang shut. And I hear him again, muffled.

“Nobody gets 10 rings.”
 
http://grantland.com/the-triangle/derek-jeters-diary-wardrobe-centaurs-and-supervillains/

Derek Jeter's Diary: Wardrobe Centaurs and Supervillains
  • by Mark Lisanti Is An Editor At Grantland. Archive @ Marklisanti
  • April 23, 2014
  • 8 min read
  • original
The baseball season is a long and lonely road. To preserve his sanity, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter keeps a diary. These are excerpts from The Captain’s private journal.

Monday, April 14: Off Day

Tuesday, April 15: Home Rainout

There’s nothing worse than two consecutive days without games during the season, which almost never happens. An off day followed by a rainout feels especially cruel when it’s your final season and every remaining day of baseball is even more precious. It’s like you’ve got this suddenly limited supply of W’s that are being handed out, one by one, and you don’t know exactly how many W’s are in your pile; all you know is they will definitely run out at some point relatively soon. You hope there’s enough to hold you over through mid-October. And that you’re going to get that last W of the season. That championship W. The one that comes with the trophy and the parade and the ring. But you can’t know for sure when that last W is coming. Not yet. It’s still way off in the distance. All you can do is show up ready to play every day and play as hard as you can until it’s all over. For good this time. You never used to take rainouts this hard. That’s an interesting breakthrough to have in your diary. The journaling coach always tells you to just write until something happens. He’s usually correct about these things. It gets annoying, truth be told. He’s not the boss of my epiphanies.

The game is postponed early, before anyone’s left for warmups, but I go to the Stadium anyway. Spending a day back at the apartment feels like a waste of that precious time. What are you going to do, stare at the rain through the window? Watch highlights of other team’s games? So I head to the Bronx, get in through the secret Captain’s Entrance — which I never use, because I come and go with the rest of the team; a Captain is no better than any other player, even if he has a hidden way into the ballpark that only he can use — and spend some time in the dark clubhouse. It’s strange to see the locker room that way. Quiet. Usually you’ve got Jorgie strapping on his pads, or Pettitte running a prayer circle, or Mo teaching one of the bullpen kids a new grip. Well, not anymore. It’s still weird that they’re not around all the time. Now it’s McCann with the pads. Tanaka playing with grips. Yangervis Solarte taking selfies with everyone because he’s afraid every game is his last. That’s not turning into another personal epiphany. That’s just a sensible fear for a 26-year-old rookie who might stop hitting any minute and never get back here.

I take a walk out to Monument Park in the rain. I want to spend a few minutes looking at the plaques. Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Scooter Rizzuto, all the greats. Even Mo now. I stop in front of his plaque and notice something strange. There’s another new plaque next to his.

And it has my face on it. Which is crazy, because I am not retired. And even then, maybe you don’t get a plaque, you’re not the type to make assumptions like that, it’s a thing that’s totally out of your hands. So I lean in and notice it’s not a very flattering likeness. But definitely me. I read the inscription. It says:

DEREK SANDERSON JETER

RAN AFOUL OF A.H. SELIG, GREATEST BASE-BALL COMMISSIONER IN THE HISTORY OF OUR HUMBLE GAME

DIED ON THE FIELD DURING THE TIE-BREAK FOR THE 2014 WILD-CARD TO THE RED STOCKINGS OF BOSTON

A LONG-AGO CHAMPION NEVER AGAIN TO TASTE THE PLAY-OFFS

OR KNOW THE JOY OF THE FAMILY HE NEVER GOT TO HAVE

OVER-RATED IN THE FIELD AS WELL

I reach out and touch the plaque. It dissolves in my hand. The rain washes all traces away.

Did I imagine it? Dream it?

I can’t worry about that now. There’s a doubleheader tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 16: vs. Chicago Cubs (doubleheader)

A two-W day. Two shutouts from two new pitchers. You can’t script it any better.

Well, you could. I sat out the first game because Girardi’s being overprotective about my playing time. But Tanaka struck out 10. He gave up only two hits in eight innings. Both bunt singles. You could point to the unwritten rules and get bent out of shape that they were only bunting their way on against him, but he didn’t seem bothered by it. Maybe they have different unwritten rules in Japan because somebody mistranslated the unwritten rulebook when they brought over baseball from America. Maybe cheap bunt hits are a sign of respect over there, you don’t know. You just have to respect cultural differences you don’t understand and don’t really care to learn about.

In the second game, Pineda dominated without any accusations of using pine tar on his pitching hand. As Captain, when you have a situation like that, it’s your responsibility to handle it. So you pull the player aside and you tell him that no matter how many guys on other teams, even your biggest rivals, you’ve seen smear things on baseballs, that you just have to be better than that. No pine tar, no sunscreen, no mix of rosin and pomade that makes your hair look like a greasy drowned weasel. You’re playing for an organization that is always under more intense scrutiny because of its unbroken tradition of sportsmanship and excellence. You can’t disrespect the pinstripes by taking the shortcuts everyone else is taking.

And he heard me and dumped out his entire bucket of tar while I watched. It’s always a special moment when you can influence a young player like that. You can change the course of a career in a single moment. Even if he ends the conversation by saying, “I don’t need this junk to beat the Cubs.”

Thursday, April 17: at Tampa Bay Rays

The only important thing is that we were able to get the win, because those are always hard to come by at Tropicana Field, which barely meets the minimum requirements of being a baseball stadium. They’ve even started to sell fans catwalk seats and changed the ground rules so that any ball they catch is an out. You hate to see an organization mess with the game like that, no matter how hard it is to for them to move tickets. Abner Doubleday definitely didn’t have civilian catwalk fielders in mind when he invented the sport.

Win or not, it’s a little troubling we had to call up Scott Sizemore from the minors and start him at first with Tex still out. That’s our fifth first baseman of the season. He’s never played first before. Neither have I. They haven’t asked me. If they did, I’d play there without complaint. Maybe you drop an offhand comment to Girardi or Cashman like, “Maybe we could’ve planned for a backup first baseman in the offseason? Your shortstop of 19 seasons is playing first now, seems like a strange thing to happen,” but you take the field wherever they tell you. It’s not your job to dictate where you play, it’s your job to play out of position because somebody in management couldn’t imagine a world in which Mark Teixeira might pull a hammy.

Sunday, April 20: at Tampa Bay Rays

A big win in extra innings. All regular-season wins are equal, because you need at least 90 of them most years to get to the games that actually matter, but this one felt good because we completely fell apart the last two games. It got ugly. Eleven runs allowed Friday, 16 runs allowed yesterday, total pitching meltdowns. And it gets worse because Nova’s hurt, probably going for Tommy John soon. It’s a shame when one of your young guys goes down like that. You hate to blame the way coaches handle young pitchers these days, babying them instead of letting them build up their arms with high pitch counts, but this is what keeps happening. Everybody’s getting that surgery all of a sudden. You look at a guy like Tanaka, who threw 280 pitches per game in Japan since fifth grade, and he seems fine. He’ll probably pitch forever, like Kuroda, who’s still pretty productive into his late fifties. This feels like the one area where maybe we shouldn’t think we have all the answers. Your heart breaks that the kid won’t be around for the Series this year. He’s going to miss some great experiences.

Monday, April 21: Off Day

Home at the Tampa house before the trip up to Boston for a big series with the Sox. I try to sleep in, but I’m awakened by a thumping at the wardrobe. I ignore it for a while, but it gets so loud that I have no choice but to get out of bed and open it.

“Good morning, Jetes.”

“How did you get here?”

“Wardrobe travel. That’s kind of the whole point. May I leave the wardrobe now and enter the two-legged world?”

“Do I need to grant you permission?”

“Not really. It’s just common courtesy, Jetes. May I leave the wardrobe now and enter the two-legged world?”

“Do whatever you want.”

He steps out of the wardrobe and into the bedroom. You’d never admit it to him, but his strides are sort of majestic. The centaur form really agrees with him.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in my alone time.”

“What about?”

“It gets awfully lonely in the wardrobe when you’re gone, Jetes.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe you can work on your game for next year.”

“Don’t be silly. They won’t let me play like this. I’ll have to devolve first. I know that now.”

“Devolve.”

“Right, Jetes. Revert to an inferior state.”

“That’s too bad.”

“But that’s not what I need to ask you.”

“What do you need to ask me, Alex?”

“I’d like to travel with you all year. I don’t want to miss your farewell tour. It’s really special, Jetes.”

“Well, you can’t travel with me.”

“All you have to do is make sure all your hotel rooms have wardrobes. It’s really easy, Jetes.”

“I don’t think I’m going to do that, Alex.”

“At least think about it.”

“OK. Maybe I’ll think about it.”

“It’s going to be really special, Jetes.”

“OK.”

“One more thing?”

“What?”

“Will you brush my tail? I’d really like it if you’d brush my tail.”

“Absolutely not, Alex.”

“It gets knots if it’s not properly brushed.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“At least think about it.”

“No.”

“I’ll take a rain check on the brushing, Jetes. Thanks so much.”

I excuse myself to the bathroom. When I return, A-Rod is gone and the wardrobe doors are closed.

But there’s a solid-gold brush laying on the bed. I turn it over. The initials A.R. are encrusted in diamonds.

It’s a very nice brush.

Tuesday, April 22: at Boston

There’s nothing worse than a day without baseball, but there’s nothing better than going into Fenway and beating the Red Sox with their ace on the mound, in front of a crowd that knows it’s one of their last chances to workshop some new insults. But you savor them anyway, even the ones that are a little too sexually graphic and involve actresses you’ve forgotten you were ever involved with, because you know there aren’t going to be many more games here, even if it will probably be your destiny to play a Game 7 of the ALCS on this same field, on a cold and rainy night like this one. The atmosphere’s still electric, even if the fans have gotten a bit spoiled by their recent run of good luck. It used to be a lot of frustration and anger coming at you when you were standing in the on-deck circle, but now you get a bunch of people asking you to polish their rings with parts of your body you don’t even want to mention in your diary. You’re not even sure how that would work, because those body parts are not usually associated with cleanliness.

After the game, I ask Ellsbury what it’s like to be back in Boston. But he was too distracted by his old Sox jersey floating in the open septic pit in the middle of the visitor’s clubhouse to answer. I still remember the look on Rocket’s face when they did that to him. He was not happy. But Ellsy just excused himself and threw up quietly in Preston Claiborne’s cleats. It takes some guys a couple of games before they adjust to being on the correct side of the rivalry.

I expect my locker to be buried under a mound of signed Pedroia baseballs, or Mike Napoli’s beard shavings. Instead there’s a nicely wrapped package waiting there for me. I rip it open. It’s a miniature version of the plaque I saw in Monument Park. There’s a note attached.

Dear Captain,

You did not Dream this.

I am watching always.

Enjoy this small Gift.

Yours,

A.H.S., C.o.t.B-B.

I wrap it in a sock and toss it into the septic pit.

There’s no time to be distracted by supervillain trash talk.

We have two more games to win here before the weekend.
 
I'm wondering if I should make the annual trip to see a baseball game this year. There doesn't seem to be any improvement for the Jays.
 
I'm wondering if I should make the annual trip to see a baseball game this year. There doesn't seem to be any improvement for the Jays.
Bautista is have a great year. But the team is fair to middling as usual. Still, why not?
 
We usually make the trip out when the Yankees or Red Sox are not in town just so the prices are more reasonable but we go to the restaurant and it's usually a $300+ tab for a buffet. I never eat at buffets but they don't have an a la carte menu. The beer prices are just as ridiculous as the ones at the concession stands in the stadium. At least there is service and they bring you the drinks.

I also get invited by a vendor to a box every year but it's only free beer and wine. Lot of ballpark food though. They pick the worst times. Usually late to end of summer mid afternoon games on a weekday.
 
I got free tickets for the Jays home game on July 1. 1st base - is that good or bad?

I always sit up in the restaurant or a box. How do I make sure I don't die from slow reflexes dodging foul balls?
 
I got free tickets for the Jays home game on July 1. 1st base - is that good or bad?

I always sit up in the restaurant or a box. How do I make sure I don't die from slow reflexes dodging foul balls?
Dude, that's awesome! The Jays are killing it right now. Plus, you get to watch Edwin Encarnacion pick his ass for the whole game.
 
That means he'll protect me? It's two tickets so I haven't decided who to take. I got it from some chap who does business with the company. I obviously have a dodgy request for proposal process. And it's next week during a statutory holiday.
 
Crazy final day. No hitter by Zimmerman, Gray pitches a shutout to get the A's in the back door, and Pittsburgh falls apart. Playoff matchups are set:

AL: Detroit vs. Baltimore and KC vs. Oakland

NL: San Fransisco vs. Pittsburgh and LA Dodgers vs. St. Louis

Anyone up for some playoff baseball betting?
 

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