So It Goes
...and so Bronson Arroyo, facing a very frustrated and underrated Oakland lineup, became their whipping boy. Yep, they whipped it to left, where a lackadaisical Manny loped about looking very busy but letting balls bounce off the wall; they whipped it to center, where Johnny Damon ran and leapt...and missed; they whipped it to right, where Gabe Kapler made heroic dives, once completely over the wall into the stands; they whipped it to third, where Kevin Youkilis earned his first official error in the major leagues; they whipped it to shortstop, where Pokey also made an uncharacteristic bobble; they whipped it to second and first, where Bellhorn and Millar flashed some unusual, though ultimately meaningless, leather; and last but certainly not least, they whipped it right over the wall.
The phone rang midway through the fifth inning, the score 9-0, Oakland.
"Tell me it's going to be okay," Kellie said.
"Of course," I scoffed. "We still win the series no matter what. Let 'em get their frustrations out. We still beat them overall. And besides, Bronson's just a baby; he's going to make mistakes. We're still tied for the best record in the Major Leagues and a game and a half ahead of the Yankees.
"If we're going to lose one," I concluded, "This one, in May, when we've already clinched the three-game series? Probably among the best options."
She took a deep breath and let it out. "Okay."
"Listen to you," my dad said. He'd been eavesdropping. "The voice of wisdom and reason."
"Hey," I shot back. "I'm also so tired, I really don't give a shit."
"Red Sox suck," he spat. "The bums."
He doesn't mean that, of course. But I meant what I said. I had arrived home in a funk as it was. Too many nights of staying up too late to appease both my Red Sox and writing addictions has taken its toll this week. I watched as the A's racked up 12 runs through half-lidded eyes, watched as Belli and Crespo were sent out to conserve Tek and JD for a game they might actually win, listened to Orsillo and the Rem-Dawg gather conversational moss, and finally switched over to CSI:Las Vegas, which gave me some loyalty issues, because normally I'm a staunch Law and Order supporter.
I flipped back again later to assess the damage, and, to my astonishment, this is what I saw: fan attendance still proportionately outdoing the opening innings of any game in Toronto or Tampa Bay. Andy Dominique still being heartily cheered, though he struck out...again. Applause for a diving catch by Bellhorn, despite the fact that the runner was safe at first anyway.
Pokey Reese driving in a run on a fluke grounder. The place went nuts.
The score? 15-1.
I repeat, the place went nuts.
Every long fly ball that looked like it had a chance, they were yelling. "Youuuuuk", they were bellowing. Every Manny at-bat, they were cheering. Pokey to the plate? They were chanting.
Po-key, Po-key, Po-key, Po-key.
Shame on me.
The players had a peculiar expression as they played out the rest of the game. They kept looking down, clearing their throats, looking at one another. And they kept hustling, kept swinging.
If they were chagrined, I don't think it was because of the score.