My mom is a big baseball fan. She loves her some Cardinals. Because the game is so important to her, I've taken to watching her team play this summer. Never mind that she sometimes mutilates their names, referring in particular to a left fielder named "Holloway," and a favorite pitcher who was traded as "Joe Perry." I don't even think Mom is an Aerosmith aficionado.
Okay, I confess that I don't so much WATCH the games as I DVR them and fast-forward through them until there's some action. Seriously. It's almost as bad as golf. (Sorry, Joe H.) Did you know I can watch a complete game in about 20 minutes? No need to sit through the pitcher stepping off to psych out the batter, and the batter retaliating by backing up and fiddling with the velcro on his batting gloves every pitch. No need to watch that lead-off batter go to a full count every at-bat and then foul a couple off for good measure.
On our 6:00 a.m. phone calls, Mom and I have to rehash last night's game. Sometimes we are rushed, so when she says, "What did you think of the game last night?" I just let her have it all at once.
"I am so sick of your guy stealing the most-hit batter title from MY guy! I have never liked him. In fact, if I was the pitcher, I would hit him every time. And as he was walking to first base grimacing at me, I'd hit him again! Yep! I'd fire that ball over there and bean him good. I could, you know. Because as major league pitcher, I would have control. I don't get how this guy acts like he's so put-upon when he can't move his butt out of the way of a pitch. Besides, he has an elbow protector. If that doesn't protect him, then major league baseball teams better start asking for their money back. Oh! And don't get me started! Last night he hit himself in the foot with a foul tip, and laid down like a little girl. THEN he had the audacity to hit our base runner in the toe! And to think I used to get mad because he hit into too many double plays..."
"But...he's been the reason they won the last couple of games, you know."
"Yes I know! I still don't like him. I appreciate the wins. But I will never like him. MY guy gets hit by the pitcher, and he skips down to first, all smiles, because, hey, he's on base, it's part of the game. MY guy makes fantastic plays in the outfield, slamming into the wall, leaping above the fence, scooping up shoestring catches, running all the way over to your guy's territory to make his plays for him, is hitting over .300, and everybody's like 'Meh.' But your guy walks out with his grimace, and everybody fawns all over him, what a solid guy he is. I just don't see it."
"What about that new guy last night?"
"That's another thing! My power went off, and the DVR stopped, and when the picture came back, the camera was on this guy in the dugout. I thought, 'Hey, that ol' clumsy-mule-looking guy sure looks different.' Then I found out it's a completely NEW guy up from the minors. And the announcers had the nerve to say, 'Yes, he's really gotten in shape this year, and is so much more mobile, so the Cardinals decided to give him a chance.' Which made me think, 'Since when have the Cardinals cared if their 1st baseman was mobile and in shape?'"
"I think maybe I fell asleep, but I did wake up to see that they'd won."
"Do you know how many pitchers we used? SEVEN! And my favorite little guy only got to pitch 1/3 of an inning! They brought him in with the bases loaded and two outs, and he did the job to get them out of that jam, then he didn't even get to pitch the next inning. I swear I could be a major league manager. I'd show them how it's done!"
"They play at 7:00 tonight."
"I've already set my TV to record it."