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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

It Was the Best of Games, It Was the Worst of Games…

…but mostly, it was the very most poopiest worst of games.

Last night, a couple of friends and I ventured out to a local watering hole to watch the final game in the Red SoxYankees series being played in New York. I’m a Red Sox fan. One of the friends I was with is also a Red Sox fan; the other, a damned Yankees fan. We’re all pretty rabid about our chosen teams, but we’re also ‘fans of the game’.

(Which means that we won’t immediately yell and boo and shout obscenities when the opposing team makes a nice catch in the field, or strikes one of our guys out on a nasty pitch.

First, we’ll acknowledge that it was a great play. And then, we’ll yell and boo and shout obscenities.

See? Different.)

Anyway, the game. I got there a bit late — Tony Clark had already homered off of Pedro Martinez to put the Yanks up 2-0 in the second inning. I’m especially glad I missed that, even besides the hole it dropped Boston into. See, Clark used to play for the Sox, just a couple of years ago.

(Oh, Tony… the Yankees? After wearing the crimson hose? How could you? Tsk, brother. Very tsk.)

Anyway, that’s not so terrible. With players moving around all willy-nilly these days, this sort of thing is bound to happen. And we put up with Roger Clemens in pinstripes for years, so ‘Tony the Tiger’ wearing a Yankees getup is a minor assault to the senses in comparison.

But the problem is — Clark was a damned dog when he played for Boston. You’d have trouble convincing many Red Sox fans — present blogger included — that Clark had a home run, or two RBI the entire year he was here. Dog. Absolute tail-chasing, butt-sniffing, woof-woof, piss-on-the-carpet dog. And now he goes and produces against us. We won’t forget that, Tony. You’d better watch your back, there, Skippy.

Anyway, I got there around about the third inning. My comrades were already at the bar, a couple of brews and a plate of nachos into their evening. The game was pretty uneventful until the middle innings. Pokey Reese made a spectacular play for the Sox somewhere in there, falling into the stands behind third base to make a catch on a foul pop. Jorge Posada homered in the fifth — a mammoth upper-deck no-doubter, also off Pedro. Things were starting to look grim.

That’s when the BoSox mounted their comeback. Manny Ramirez homered in the sixth — Sox down 3-2. Pokey — that’s Mister Pokey to you — followed up his acrobatics in the field with… well, a double play, actually. But — and this is a very important ‘but’ — it was a double play with no one out and men on first and third. So while it wasn’t the most useful thing Senor Pokeypants could have done, it still scored a run. And even more importantly, tied the game, 3-3.

And that’s where it stood, for almost another complete game’s worth of innings. Boston’s closer, Keith Foulke, came in to pitch the eighth. The Sox had lost the first two games in this series, and were clearly sending the signal that they’d fight tooth and nail to save this last game. The three of us at the bar mulled the move — it’s a bit risky, since most closers aren’t used to pitching two innings, and we’d want Foulke in there in the ninth, as well. Would he tire? Would he keep focus in a tie game, rather than coming in with the lead? Could it be any more fun to use ‘Foulke’ in a sentence to make it sound dirty? (God, I love baseball.)

Personally, I like the move. Pedro gave you seven strong innings, and you want this game badly. Don’t go pussy-footing around with middle relievers — go right to the big guy in the bullpen. Gutsy call by the manager, Terry Francona, but I like it.

And, as it turned out, it paid off — at least as far as the move went. Foulke breezed through the eighth. The Yankees mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t get a run home. And so, we were treated to ‘bonus baseball’. There were various threats and nail-biting moments as the chess game unfolded. Foulke gave way to Mike Timlin in the 10th; the Yankees countered with their closer, Mariano Rivera (who also lasted two innings, as it happened, and still also didn’t figure into the final outcome).

The Sox finally broke through in the 13th inning with another Manny-shot off Yankees reliever Tanyon Sturtze. The fans in Mudville — I mean, Beantown — went wild. Boston had a chance for more runs, too, with runners on second and third with two out and scrappy Trot Nixon pinch-hitting.

That’s when the Yanks’ Derek Jeter, not to be outdone, pulled a ‘Pokey’ of his own and dove — no, plummeted — into the stands after catching Trot’s popup, in just about the same area Reese had made his grab a couple of hours before. Honestly, as a baseball fan, it’s one of the better catches — and selfless efforts — I’ve ever seen. As a Sox fan… it sucked. But it was sort of vindicating to see ‘Jumpin’ Jeter’ climb woozily out of the stands, looking like a punch-drunk Mike Tyson punching bag. Sort of.

At least, until the Yankees came back in the bottom of the inning. Bastards! Ruben Sierra, seemingly as old as baseball itself, started the riot. A few swings and two bench scrubs later (Miguel Cairo and John Flaherty, namely), it was over. Yankees in a thrillah, 5-4 in 13. Bitches!

So, that was my night. I was down… and then I was up… and then down a little… and up quite a bit, and then way, way down. And in the end, I was just drunk. And pissy. (In the ‘outlook on life’ way, not in the ‘hey, what’s that on my pants’ way. Just so you know.)

Anyway, there’s always next year, right? With the Sox, there’s always next year. Eh, screw it. I’ll just wait for the Patriots to kick off their season. Whose idea was this ‘baseball’ bullshit, anyway?

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