Saturday, July 26, 2008

No Relief

I am not an avid sports fan by any means. But baseball is one of the few professional sports that I can watch and understand. I enjoy going to games and I can even watch it on TV. Ingrained in my blood is a loyalty to my home team, the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite my variety of homes, the Cardinals are always the team I root for. If I’m flipping channels and passing baseball news or a game, I’ll pause to see if the red birds are on. Because of my loyalty to them, it is required that I hate the Mets and the Cubs. Living in Chicago, I could have gotten killed for wearing any type of Cardinal gear. Nick suggested we become Cubs fans while living there. I said it was absolutely out of the question and should he feel the need to suggest it again, I’d file for divorce (ok, not really but it’s a serious offense!). While I was in the hospital delivering Ivy, the World Series was on. I don’t remember who the Cardinals beat in that series, but it doesn’t really matter. As I sat in my room waiting for serious contractions, I turned on the TV.

“Ooh, the baseball game is on.” I said to the nurse.

“Are you a baseball fan?” She asked.

“I’m a Cardinals fan.”

She frowned. “Honey, you are in the WRONG town.”

Similarly, when I visited the New York area earlier this year, I went into a gift shop with my boss looking for a souvenir for Nick. She suggested I get him a Mets hat. I politely reminded her that Mets are pond scum—the mantra we chanted as children.

This is the extent of my baseball following. I admit, it doesn’t go very far, but it’s there nonetheless.

This past Sunday was Make-A-Wish day at Chase Field (where the Diamondbacks play). Everyone in the office got two free tickets, so we decided it would be fun to go—which it was. Ivy was a great sport—clapping when everyone else did and eating ball park nachos (sadly, they did not have veggie dogs.). The home team was in the lead all the way up to the ninth inning—4-1 against the Dodgers. To wrap up the game as a sure fire win, they bring in the relief pitcher. This guy (Brendan Lyons or something like that) comes in to growling and a song I don’t remember—lots of heavy fanfare. Well why not? He’s going to bring it all home for us.

Three outs later, the Dodgers have picked up four runs! FOUR! IN THE NINTH INNING!!! What the heck?! What kind of relief pitcher gives it all up in the NINTH INNING? It really shouldn’t surprise me. I’ve seen it all before in San Diego. Nick and I went to a Padre’s game before we moved to Chicago. They were playing the Giants and in a similar fashion, were winning throughout most of the game. It was a sure victory. But just to be safe, they bring in the relief pitcher, Trevor Hoffman. He walks in to flames and Hells Bells blaring through the stadium. I’d heard plenty of hoopla about Trevor Hoffman, though in the few games I’d paid attention to, he’d yet to impress me. Well, here I was going to see it first hand. Ok, get ready. He’s gonna bring hell to the batter in the form of a baseball!

Not so much. I don’t remember how many runs the Giants scored in that final inning, but it was more than enough to win them the game. So much for the relief pitcher. Relief for the other team maybe. Oh well. If I were a serious sports fan, I’d be REALLY mad.

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