All of a sudden, it was like I'd woken up from a dream. For a few days I couldn't quite pinpoint what was different, except that suddenly I was realizing how long it'd been since I'd, say, changed the Brita filter or cleaned the shower. Suddenly it seemed like everything was a mess.
I was washing what felt like my millionth dish the other night when it finally struck me what had made me begin to inspect my general surroundings more closely once I was home from work of late.It had all started, I realized,on Friday, October 16. The Yankees and the Angels were kicking off the ALCS in the Bronx, and I decided, at the last minute, that I'd sit this one out.
It's obviously against my religion to root for the Yankees, but I couldn't quite root for the Angels. I wasn't even feeling particularly bitter about the division series--the Sox were playing too badly for that--it's just that I don't like them, or some of their fans.
The team sometimes remind me of the San Diego Chargers -- when they've lost in the playoffs against Boston, it's always about someone else, and a few of them have to let everybody know about it. Legitimate gripes with umpires are one thing (though you lose me at the league-wide conspiracies), but let's just say I don't think you make yourself look good, no matter what sport you're playing, when you insist to the press postgame that the better team lost.
As for the fans, I also think that allegations of cheating--open, bald-faced cheating of a kind uncommon since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson--based on a few seconds' worth of video of your opponent from a bad angle, is not something that's going to make you look very good.
Yes, I know that first example was last year. Yes, I know I'm in a glass house as a Boston fan talking about being a sore loser. I honestly didn't even feel like having that argument, if anybody even cared to have it. I needed a break.
Next thing I knew, I was scrubbing floors. Watching back episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Colbert Report on the ol' TiVo. Processing photos. Many photos. It's amazing what you suddenly remember about your life when you're not watching baseball.
I mainly absorbed the ALCS by Google Reader osmosis. I know about A-Rod becoming a true Yankee and then elbowing Erick Aybar in the grundle heading in to second base. I feel I've caught up on the important highlights.
So now here we are, and this World Series...well, that one's pretty easy. But not just because The Phillies are "whoever's playing the Yankees".
In fact, even though it's the Yankees, for a brief moment, I wondered if there wasn't something vaguely disloyal about rooting for the NL, according to a kind of abstract hierarchy of rooting interests (I have been able to bring myself, with some retching, to root for Derek Jeter during All-Star Games based on this same set of principles).
But there's no way I can not root for Pedro, no way I can not watch to see if he has one more great performance left in him, even if it's more like "Who's your granddaddy?" now.
Tonight, watching the broad-shouldered and businesslike Cliff Lee pitch a one-run complete game, languidly gloving a popup in the sixth, smiling and shrugging after an uncanny behind-the-back catch in the bottom of the eighth, and Charlie Manuel cursing at the umpires from the dugout on any number of farcical calls, I decided I truly like the Phillies. There's something old-fashioned about them, the solid primary colors of their uniforms, the crusty manager and the baby-faced Chase Utley rounding the bases.
Go Phillies. Go Pedro. The Yankees must not win. And the rest of the chores can wait.