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I once studied to become a radio DJ in college. It didn’t last, but in that time I saw the light burn out in my classmate’s eyes. Many saw this profession as a means of diving into the deep cuts of bands obscure enough to brag about loving. A chance to live their passion and demonstrate their taste. But this was not that sort of college radio station. The head of the department was actually concerned with breaking the spirits of his students preparing his students for the real world of radio. That meant top 40, every time, all the time, until the exact same 40 songs bled out of your ears. He often said that the radio life is not for people who love music. It’s for people who hate music. I believe he was twice divorced.
Keeping in that spirit of detachment, perhaps it’s a bad idea for me to write about what I love. Maybe I should just start covering the Columbus Blue Jackets, as opposed to the team my dad brought me to see when I was 12 years old. Perhaps, but I was a bad student and dropped out of the Communications program, so fuck it, why start listening to that dusty old fart now.
So as I write this introduction on a Thursday afternoon, my attention is on the upcoming four game series in Fenway Park. Now the season hasn’t gone exactly as the way I might have imagined. Gary Sanchez is hurt, but has also been shitty all season long. Our pitching staff is a laughingstock. No game breaking trades were made. And the Boston Red Sox can’t stop winning and seem to be colluding with teams like the Blue Jays who willingly bring Tyler Clippard in to close a one run game (You’re never going to guess how that played out). Had this team been in the National League, they would have a solid chance at securing home field throughout the playoffs. Had they played in the AL Central they’d almost definitely cruise to the ALDS. As it stands they’re on track to play the Wildcard Game, where they will face the A’s and probably get no hit by Manaea while Severino serves up 8 runs in the third. They’re currently 5 ½ games behind Boston. Sweep the series and they’re 1 ½. Get swept and they’re 9 ½. Split and I have wasted four days in the summer.
I will now review these games individually. I’m not necessarily going to be proud of my immediate reactions, but they are what I felt as the game wrapped.
Game 1: Starting out brilliantly, the Yankees quickly went up three runs in the first inning off of a home run by Didi Gregorius. They’d tack on another in the second off of an Aaron Hicks home run. I would easily give the first inning and a half five baseballs. That was fun. Unfortunately the game took a turn when CC casually gave up a run in the second and another in the third. He also made a throw to first that my wife would have been able to pull off with greater accuracy. He was pulled. Then Holder came in, Aaron Boone fell asleep in the dugout, and by the time somebody woke him up and whispered, “Psst, Jonathan Holder is shitting his pants” the Yankees had given up seven runs and locked down exactly zero outs.
That was all that happened in that game. The box score will tell you that Didi hit a second home run, Giancarlo hit one of his own, but those are lies. That’s all that happened. I started watching Logan Lucky sometime after the seventh. Have you seen Logan Lucky?
Just going by the numbers, no, you have not. It’s decent. Magic Mike recruits Kylo Ren and James Bond to rob the Charlottesville Motor Speedway. The chemistry between the actors is decent, the scenes move along, and if you can get past the 50 logic holes, it’s an enjoyable caper flick. I would give Logan Lucky four baseballs, and this game negative six baseballs. That’s right, I award no baseballs, and in fact confiscate six of your baseballs.
The Yankees are now 6 ½ games behind Boston in the AL East, and will need to sweep the remainder of the series to gain any ground.
Game 2: 162 games makes for a long season, and not every game features what I like to call “playoff intensity.” Truth be told it’s a lot of hours to grind through, and you can’t always stay on the edge of your couch with every 2-1 pitch. So from time to time, I will head over to the live game threads to take the temperature of the fanbase. The problem is that there aren’t many neutral game threads. They’re all put up by team-centric blogs. And stop me if you’ve heard this, but Yankee fans are awful. Now, I’m not the type to actually start any comment, but from time to time I end up having to respond to other, bad comments. Here are a sample of some of the responses I dished out throughout the pregame and the game itself.
6:55 pm: “Hell yeah, Im ready for baseball. Horny, in fact. Restoring order tonight guys.”
7:01 pm: “LOL. Great take homey.”
7:14 pm: “Wrong.”
7:25 pm: “That was pretty much the definition of a gutless top of the first. What the fuck game are you watching?”
7:43 pm: “Sir, please shut the fuck up.”
8:01 pm: “Fuck this team, and fuck your face.”
8:11 pm: “No, you must not watch very much baseball.”
8:29 pm: “Ooooh. It’s the moderator everybody [wanking motion].”
8:31 pm: “I would guess by sucking off enough truckers to pocket the money to get a web developer to make you a fancy looking blog. Do you know how I got where I am today? Sir?”
8:48 pm: “You fucking BANNED me? For what?”
9:05 pm: “It’s me again. You know I can just keep creating new burner accounts, right? Dipshit.”
9:32 pm: “Holy shit. You guys are actually tracking us by our IP now? You guys are fucking nazis.”
9:44 pm: “I had to borrow my neighbor’s phone just to write this, so that I could tell you that I will not be frequenting this site anymore. So much for free speech.”
And don’t even get me started on Red Sox fans. Later on in the night my friend Jess in Boston tweeted that the Red Sox looked like they were going to win the World Series. Without another thought I rang her up when she was putting her kids to bed and called her a bean eating slut.
So believe me, I am fully on board with anybody who mentions how obnoxious other fans can be.
As for the game itself, Severino settled down a bit after giving up three in the first and Gleyber Torres once again looked like a bored little leaguer as he casually let a ball roll by him in shallow outfield, allowing a fourth run to score. The Red Sox won 4-1.
I give this game negative two baseballs.
The Yankees are now 7 ½ games behind Boston in the AL East. They will need to win the two remaining games to hold even for the series.
Game 3: I actually didn’t watch this game, and it has nothing to do with the past performance. Honest. My parents drove down to hang out with my daughter at the beach. They’re divorced and not planning on ever, ever, ever getting back together, so this was a really big deal. We’d planned to drive down to the Jersey Shore, which means that even if I wanted to (I did not want to), I would not be able to watch the game on Saturday. But I promised you a review, and that’s what you’re getting. In keeping with the theme of my weekend of sadness the weather reports were…not great. The city had been muggy with thunderstorms for the past few days, and every news outlet showed the stormy cloud shooting lightning. As we woke to face the day, we were greeted with an ominous grey sky. My wife declared that we aren’t going anywhere with the confidence of an enraged dictator, but I told her that we were doing the thing. We would show the fight that my Yankees had forgotten, damn it.
The rain had opened a big lead as we attempted brunch before making the drive down. Soon we were soaked, and after waiting 20 minutes for the restaurant to begin serving, we were told that their kitchen was flooded. We were forced to walk in the rain to another overpriced Brooklyn restaurant that specializes in gentrification. My two-year-old daughter decided that high chairs are bullshit and screamed until my wife held her. Then she screamed until we let her walk all over the table top, which was never, which meant she screamed for the rest of our meal. I suppose that wasn’t cool to the other patrons, but like, I don’t know, fuck them.
It looked as if it wasn’t our day, but there is no quit in this household. I doubled down and said this rain will not continue. I won’t allow it. And in a shocking upset, sunshine took the lead and won in a boat race. We enjoyed a gorgeous day at the beach, my daughter learned that waves are super scary, and ice cream was had.
That was a five baseball effort by beach day.
Upon returning, I saw that the Yankees and Red Sox got bored and just played a rerun. 4-1 Boston. I will give that another negative two baseballs.
The Yankees are now 8.5 games behind Boston, and will need to win on Sunday to avoid the sweep.
Game 4: I come into this game a broken man. A part of me wanted them to blow it again. Sometimes when things get truly bad as a fan, you just want to watch the apocalypse, so you can feel something. Or at least I do. There’s a masochistic pleasure in watching the cleansing power of flames wash over your team. Though I could do without seeing so many Boston fans happy about it all.
So as I waited yet again for the offense that didn’t appear to be coming, I was already laughing to myself. Captain Fortnight was suddenly pitching like a real ace instead of faking injuries to get out of the matchup. When Mookie Betts got a Green Monster cheapie that just crept over the wall at 437 feet, a part of me thought “Well, fuck my ass. That’s the game.” But that’s not what this bullshit team had on the menu for tonight. Instead they decided to take a lead and spend 90 hours getting to the 9th inning before they blew the game.
It’s going to extras. I don’t even give a shit. I’m filing this article right now and going to bed. Football season is starting soon enough and the Giants have the decency to not even cock tease me with any promises about success. Bring on the weekly bludgeoning. I give this game…I don’t even care. One million baseballs. It’s a stupid fucking gimmick anyway. I give all things infinite baseballs. I’ve completely devalued this stupid baseball currency and we’re all in financial purgatory. Fuck it.
The Yankees are (probably) 9 ½ games behind Boston in the American League East. Who even cares?