Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freeze Frame

I actually received 2 emails asking why I hadn't blogged about game 5 of the World Series and it's suspension. I'll take it as a compliment when people are actually interested in what you have to write and miss it when I don't do it. To be honest I just couldn't organize my thoughts yesterday to write anything worthwhile on the subject. (I hear you laughing in the background, "..and since when has that stopped you?!")

I was stunned.

Imagine yourself in this scenario-

You're a huge Phillies fan and finally everything seems to be falling into place. They get to the World Series, go up 3-1, they have their ace pitcher on the mound for the next game and you get to go there. You get to see it all. You'll be there if they win and cheer as they jump up and down after the final out and then bring out the trophy. You'll be there with thousands of other fans just as excited as you are. Needless to say I walked around with a big stupid shit-eating grin on my face all day Monday.

You decide to go to the game early to tailgate a little bit and arrive in Lot K. You barely are able to get into the lot despite being there 3 1/2 hours before game time. It is a huge party atmosphere and everyone is ecstatic. You are with your 3 best friends and they are also excited and having a good time. You eat some hoagies, drink some beer, toss around a football in the lot and a few other freinds come up to meet you and party with you. There's a light drizzle the whole time and it's quite cold, but you couldn't care less. At 8pm you gleefully trot into the ballpark.

The park is absolutely electric, you're screaming and cheering before you even get to your seats. You're suddenly friends with 45,000 people you haven't met before. You high five complete strangers as they announce the lineups. They shoot off some fireworks during the national anthem and the Phils quickly put up 2 runs in the first inning. Cole is pitching great so you start to feel it, you're anticipating the championship.

And then the rain starts to fall harder. You pull out your poncho and keep mostly dry. Your shoes do get soaked and start to freeze in the bitter cold but you don't mind as you cheer and scream the whole game. Your friend, Mike, looks like a drowned rat and is shivering but he still finds the energy to shout things like, "Make them eat it Cole!" and "Stick it in there Shane!!" The weather even creates some horrible plays like an easy pop up that gets blown away from Rollins' glove. Puddles start to form in the infield as the grounds crew keeps running out there and putting more dirt on the base paths. The weather is the worst you've ever seen a baseball game being played in but the umps don't stop it.

The Rays manage to eke out a run to tie the game in the 6th as Cole clearly can't throw his best pitch, a change-up, since it requires a firm grip that is impossible to do in a nor' eastern storm. But still, you aren't miserable because you know the Phillies offense will come thru and win the game.

"There's no stopping us now!", you think to yourself just moments before you see the grounds crew grab the tarp and roll it out.

Bud Selig just hit the pause button.

When you have such a build up of emotion and excitement for something to happen and then your feelings have to be shelved for two days, it leaves you stunned, confused, a little angry and exhausted. It's like stopping yourself midstream while you pee - it isn't easy, it hurts and it probably isn't healthy to do it. I'm still amazed I didn't end up with blue balls after the game. At least if they lost, I still would have experienced some sort of release. I would have blamed a player or the manager and been upset until the next game, but I could have moved on. I'm not saying that I'd prefer a loss (oh God no!), I'm trying to describe what being in limbo feels like. No wonder limbo is often on the path to hell.

Neither did I want Selig to call the game and have the Phillies win it on the 5 inning rule. It's not like you want to tell your grandkids that you were there when the announced it over the PA system that the Phillies won the series. I understand the pickle that Selig was in, but he still is the commissioner and he should have started the game an hour early or suspended the game sooner.

So, here I sit, all pent up and ready again to see it all. The forecast looks clear, a bit windy and cold, but they should get the game complete. The Phils do have the advantage as they have 4 innings of at bats to the Rays' 3 innings. I still may get to see it all, but it would have just taken 52 hours to do it.

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