The Baseball Desert

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Texas Hold 'Em

This was an historic game that almost got away, in more ways than one.

It almost got away from Buchholz, but Pedroia - and Coco - came to the rescue. It also almost got away from me, but this was a night on which the baseball gods were looking down on me.

The superstitious romantic in me would like to think that the gods were evening things up a little, since 4,000 miles away there were Sox fans who'd decided not to watch the game. After three straight lossses to the Yankees and Friday night's close-but-no-cigar game, I have to admit I was feeling much the same way as Beth, so much so that I didn't go to bed at 9pm as I usually do in preparation for a 7pm ET start.

So I'd made up my mind - an old Alfred Hitchcock movie on cable, and then off to bed for a good night's sleep. The movie finished around 1.15am, and I should have been heading for the bedroom, but something - those baseball gods? - made me switch on the PC to see how the Sox were doing. Of course, once you switched the game on, it's pretty damn hard to switch it off, so 2.30am rolled around and I was still sat there watching, fighting tiredness almost on every pitch. I decided that if the Sox were still up 4-0 after 4 1/2, I'd call it a night, but as I went to click off the MLB.TV window, it suddenly hit me that Buchholz had put up a bunch of zeroes. Now there was no way I could go anywhere.

Through innings 6 and 7 I kept getting up out of my chair to pace around, because 1) I was starting to get nervous, and 2) I was desperately trying to stay awake. Superstition finally kicked in in the 8th, when I sat back down again clutching my favourite old baseball, and did not move until Buchholz retired Markakais to end the game. By the time he did that, I was wide awake, despite the late hour, willing every pitch to be a strike, and every batted ball to be caught.

In the end, I didn't get to sleep until about 5am, but it was worth it. The gods don't often give you games like that. When they do, you have to grab them and store them away in the memory bank, so as to be able to bring them out whenever you want and savour them over and over again.