I recently taught the little guy to jubilantly exclaim “home run!” as befits the latest scion of generations of Yankees fans, who have long known that swinging for the fences is the best part of the national pastime, from the Babe to Reggie Jackson to A-Rod. And Aaron Boone. And Bucky F-ing Dent! Anyway, it’s cute to hear an emergently verbal tot shout “home run!”, even if he does it during the SportsCenter highlights of the hockey playoffs because so far he only grasps that it has something to do with televised athletic competitions, which Mommy and Daddy certainly do watch a lot of.
Anyway, case in point of the home run derby version of an awesome baseball game would be last night’s Red Sox at Yankees exhibition. Which was on ESPN, and that in itself honestly makes me wish I had been keeping track since the beginning of the season as to exactly how many Yankees games are being televised nationally (and thus in my non-Yankees home market) this season, because it seems like a lot. In point of fact when I checked the score online near the beginning of the game and informed my wife that it was 6-1 New York in the second inning, she asked “Yankees Red Sox? Is it on tv?” And I insisted oh, no, surely not, they just had Yankees Red Sox as the Monday Night Baseball game the other week when there was a series at Fenway, they’d spread the love around to some other teams, right? My wife responded by switching the channel to ESPN, revealing the live feed from Yankees Stadium. So. He doth protest too much in faux-humility? No one really knows for sure!
Not all of the home runs last night had me exclaiming jubilantly, of course. Bad enough when Phil Hughes, who had been pitching brilliantly and nearly home-run free all season, gave up a couple which erased most of the early lead. But when Chan Ho Park gave up a tater late to make it 8-7 Boston, I stormed out of the den and grabbed the dogs’ leashes (they needed their nightly walk anyway and I needed to compose myself). By the time I got back it was 9-7 Sox, and my wife and I headed for bed. But like a glutton for punishment, I turned the bedroom tv to ESPN.
So, bottom of the ninth, down by two runs, Gardner and Texeira and A-Rod due up, this is the conversation between me and my wife:
Me: OK, three home runs, that’s all we need, boom boom boom.
She: Technically, one three-run home run would also do it.
Me: True. Really, two home runs would tie it up and they might be able to salvage it from there, too.
Well, thank the baseball stars and spirits I lowered my expectations, because two homeruns were exactly what was delivered. But fortunately, each one was a two-run shot, as A-Rod tied the game with one swing and Marcus Thames, of all people, delivered the killing blow a couple of at-bats later, after my favorite mouth-breather in the world, Jonny Papelbon, hit a batter and rattled himself enough to serve up a fat target. Sometimes it seems like the storybook ending games and the televised-in-DC games don’t line up very often, but last night they did. Yay, sports!