Married

So, I got married. On Friday the 19th, Sarah and I eloped, went to the courthouse, signed the paperwork, exchanged rings, then had a nice dinner later in the evening. Then on Saturday, we flew to the Bahamas for a week of not-working and honeymoon and whatnot. American Airlines completely fucked up the vacation by routing and rerouting us all over the western hemisphere to get to Miami, fucking up our upgrade to first class, almost stranding us in Atlanta, and then losing Sarah’s luggage for almost five days. But we had a lot of fun and did a lot of nothing.

I should also mention, as an aside, that we went to game 4 of the World Series on Sunday. It cost me $500 for club level tickets, but there were still a large number of Massholes to deal with. The better team won, however. (When you define better as having over three times the salary.) And last night, we went to the Broncos-Packers game, but missed the first half because it was impossible to park. It was interesting to see a game at Invesco, which holds about 77,000 people, and was louder than fuck. I can’t say I would want to start being a football fan, but I’m glad I saw the one game.

Anyway, the Bahamas. I need to write the whole thing up at some point. We stayed at The Cove at Atlantis, the newest addition to Paradise Island. Our suite had a view of the ocean, a patio, two HDTV flat screens, and a bathroom roughly the size of a dorm room in college. Even though there was miles of white sand beach overlooking the water, there were also umpteen highly overdesigned swimming pools and water rides, including a huge slide that goes through a tube that bisects a tank of great white sharks. My favorite ride was the tube rapids track thing, and I got completely sunburned on it. Luckily, you can buy codeine over the counter in the Bahamas.

We went into New Providence and the town of Nassau three times. (Once to buy stuff, including clothes for Sarah; once on a bad bus trip; once on a much better tour from a limo driver we hired.) Paradise Island is naturally separated from the real town, showing that they learned something from Disney. It’s hard to get away from the resort, so they charge you $5 for a can of coke. In Vegas, I’d drive to Safeway and buy one; here, you have to find a cab and fight your way into town.

Most of the Bahamas reminded me of the African/Ugandan landscape of The Last King of Scotland, mixed with a bit of Pappilon. Buildings were either elaborate British colonial, or squat concrete block, usually painted a coral pink. People drove on the left side; the road was filled with right-hand-drive Toyota and Nissan trucks you’ve never seen in the US, and hucksterism abounded. Everyone spotted Mr. White Devil at a range of a hundred yards and immediately started in with a sales pitch for some fine conch shell-fabricated jewelry. The resorts were super ultra high end, and the city was complete poverty and desolation. It was interesting to see the two so close together without a war going on. Anyone bitching about the widening gap between rich and poor in this country really needs to go check out what the fuck’s going on down there.

So yeah, I went in the pool and the rapids ride a lot. We ate a lot. We went to a comedy club and saw Mo Alexander, who is the funniest fucking comic still living. No gambling. A lot of pictures (coming soon). A good time, aside from the luggage (fuck American Airlines) and the sunburn (fuck sun.)

And if you are hurt and offended that you didn’t hear first that we eloped, get over it. Even our families didn’t know. We were planning a big wedding next spring, but we realized it would be cheaper to buy a Lexus with every option available.

So that’s done. Baseball’s done. I think AITPL #12 is close to done, or at least the sales of it are. Maybe I can take up knitting. Or build a boat in my parking space. Actually I found out that if you spend $500K on real estate in the Bahamas, you get residency, and you never pay taxes again. So maybe I should start listing more shit on eBay.

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World. Series.

World. Fucking. Series. Can you believe it?

We were at Monday’s game, where the Diamondbacks were swept, advancing the Rockies to the World Series, a first for the club. Are you ready for a post-season bulleted list summary?

  • Tickets to this game were $70 each for possibly the worst field-level seats you could get. And they were hard to get, unless you did like me and bought them back when it looked like the Rockies weren’t going to get the wild card.
  • We left at 6:00, and first pitch was 8:18, but the place filled up ultra fast. There were also way more people than usual in purple, with purple hair, with signs, with posters, and in costume. Granted, the thing was being broadcast on TBS across the country, which was a new one.
  • Sunday’s game got on and off rain and temps in the 40s, which was pretty horrid. We had the same temps, and some wind, but no moisture. It started out not bad, then got cold, then after the game, it was unbearable. I went there with a t-shirt and black leather jacket; after an inning or two, I added a hooded sweatshirt to it. Taking off my coat to put on the sweater was like changing spacesuits in a vacuum.
  • Eric Byrnes, who had not-kind words to say about the Rockies, was in left field, right below us. The people in our section were absolutely horrible to him. It went beyond the entire section chanting “YOU SUCK” and booing at every at bat; people were screaming some fairly fucked up shit at him. I’m not complaining, but it was funny, especially the guy who yelled “HEY ERIC, I HOPE YOU LIKE TO PLAY GOLF, BECAUSE YOU AREN’T PLAYING BASEBALL TOMORROW”.
  • Unique plays: someone hit a line drive right at Troy Tulowitzki, but maybe nine feet in the air. Without even showing any effort, he leaped in the air and caught it. It was like a basketball manuver or something. Also, a baserunner took off when Ubaldo Jimanez was pitching. Instead of throwing to third to get the guy, he kept the ball, sprinted off the mound, and tagged him.
  • I went to take a leak, and when I was coming back and when the usher wouldn’t let me in, Matt Holliday smashed his three-run homer. I watched it practically float way above the stands in the air, and then plummet down and into the fountain at the far side of the field.
  • John Elway was at the game, and when they showed him on the big screen, people cheered like Jesus announced he would be cutting an album with Tim McGraw and Shooter Jennings.
  • People didn’t cheer, but George Brett was also there. I’m guessing he’s pals with old teammate Clint Hurdle, but maybe he just likes baseball.
  • The game was another one of these back-and-forth pitching battles, and although the Rockies had a five-run lead at one point, that shrunk to two points.
  • Our seats were okay with two issues. One was this group of two girls sitting next to me, who basically paid $70 plus $10 a beer to spill beer all over themselves, not watch the game, piss off everyone behind them, and yell stupid shit. The other was this whorish girl sitting behind us who kept yelling at every possible moment in one of those too-loud, I am a whore who will sleep with anyone at a sports bar sort of voices. Also, the one next to me kept swinging her towel around, and every time, it came within millimeters of knocking me in the face. Luckily, both entities had to leave for an inning every inning to go smoke or buy more beer to spill, so it wasn’t that bad.
  • By the height of the game, it was so incredible just how many people were there and how nobody was leaving. After going to so many day games where the attendance didn’t crack ten thousand, it was so overwhelming to see 52,000 people, all on their feet, all yelling and cheering.
  • Byrnes made the final out in the top of the ninth, which was fitting. Then the line of a thousand cops came out, the fireworks went out, everybody was screaming, the new NL Champion graphics came up, and a ton of workers constructed this makeshift stage at second base. The team was awarded a trophy the size of a grandfather clock, and all of the players had their wives and kids out on the field. (Matsui was with wife and kid, and I didn’t even know he was married.) When an interviewer asked Holliday if he and coach Hurdle talked a lot about the series day-to-day, he said they spent more time talking about their fantasy football pool. Then a bunch of players ran back to right above our seats to hoist up the 2007 NL Champion flag onto the flagpole, and everyone else ran into the locker room for yet another round of Bathing in Champagne.
  • Everyone either went apeshit yelling and screaming, or found the TBS cameras and went crazy trying to get on TV. We had to walk all the way around the stadium, which took forever. Outside, there were cops everywhere, and a bunch of people got arrested for dancing on top of a cop car and denting it in. But otherwise, we got home with no major problem, except it was 12:30 and the car horns went off for another hour or so.

Pictures? Of course!. Don’t mind the blurriness; I had to shoot fast, and the whole lit up at night thing confuses the camera sometimes.

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Chuck

An old friend of mine died on Thursday. Chuck Stringer was one of my coworkers when I was at the support center back at IU, and was part of the whole crew that included Simms, A, Liggett, and others. The short story is that he drank away his liver, and I got a call from A on Wednesday saying he was in the hospital, unconscious, hooked up to machines, and fighting a massive infection. A day later, I heard from her again, and they had disconnected everything and he died.

I can’t say I was the closest of friends to Chuck – he seemed to me to be a guy that was always friendly, but also to some extent kept to himself. After I left town, it was almost impossible to get some kind of conversation going with him on email, but when I was there and he decided to fire up the grill on a Sunday, at least a dozen of us would show up. I guess I mostly knew him from the workplace, because the support center was such a pressure cooker environment. He worked on the team that supported the IBM mainframes (which supported the bursar, parking ops, the registrar, and every other thing on campus that involved money changing hands.) That group worked in their own enclosed and locked war room, covered with plasma monitors on all sides. If you spent the day locked in there, you frequently popped out and paced up and down the hall and the line of other phones, and that’s where I first met Chuck. When I was sitting on the Mac line on the first day, not knowing a soul in the place, he was prowling the back nine, and came up to me and started in with some hurried, deprecating comment about one of the managers or something, then vanished again.

That pretty much set the tone for Chuck’s behavior over the years I was at the SC. There were always pot-shots at the upper management, and there was this division between some of the workers, best described as “us scumbags” versus “people who think veganism and saving whales make us better than you”. I guess that seems a little harsh now, but when you’re locked up in the basement of a building with a bunch of people all day, every day, there’s a lot of trash being talked. And Chuck was the master at barging into and derailing conversations to draw laughs to our side of the aisle.

One of the things I totally forgot about until Simms reminded me the other night was that something that me and Chuck did almost got us fired, and it was slightly morbid, given current events. But back in 1994, after Kurt Cobain died, there were some massive flamewars and trolling between alt.tasteless and alt.whatever.cobain. I was a faithful AT reader back then, and I don’t remember if Chuck was reading it, or I told him or what, but both of us started in on a lot of anti-Cobain stuff, black humor at the expense of unwashed, flannel-wearing idiots. Both of us were posting some sick, sadistic shit in the nirvana group, including a ton of Cobain haiku, and eventually, some weepy, Cobain-loving granola chick wrote a shitty letter to our boss saying we should immediately be fired because we didn’t like Nirvana or whatever. This got me called in to a manager’s office to get bitched out for wasting company time for posting something…. on December 26, when I was hundreds of miles away on vacation. I don’t know how Chuck got out of it – he probably just said “look, go fuck yourself” and got back to work. What’s odd is not the sick humor, because me and Chuck and Simms and others were rolling on the floor about this shit. It’s just strange to think about it in light of the fact that Chuck’s dead now.

And that also reminded me of the time he visited me in Seattle. Nothing was weird about that trip – he and Suzi, his girlfriend, were on this massive expedition to Alaska from Indiana, and were getting bored of camping, so they stopped in Jet City for a long weekend. I was dating Karena then, and I stayed over at her house most weekends anyway, so I gave them the keys to my place, and the four of us hung out for a few days. There’s nothing weird about that, although he stole his neighbor’s pink flamingo and was taking pictures of it across the country, so we had to go to the Microsoft campus, the space needle, and the Fremont troll. But my one weird memory was that Princess Di got killed that weekend, and everyone was PrincessDiPrinceesDiPrincessDi everywhere you went, and we were in a Safeway or something, and Chuck just yells “I CANT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TO PRINCESS DI!”, and finishes with some sick joke like “what was the last thing that went through her head / the windshield.” That was not unlike Chuck at all, and to a sick fuck like me, it was funny as hell. But after he died and I thought back to that, it was a little abnormal.

I don’t mean to lay out all of these negative things about death and sick humor. Chuck was also a writer, and we spent a lot of time at work talking about fiction and stories and Hemingway and Orwell and craft and workshops. He read the old Air in the Paragraph Line issues and had kind words and good suggestions. We were both registered for Murray Sperber’s 50s/60s Lit class (which turned out to be the best class I ever took at IU) but he had to drop out because of a work conflict. The strange thing about Chuck’s writing is that I never saw any of it. He was very secretive about his work, and although I gave him a draft of every story I wrote back then (and he was very encouraging about my early work on Summer Rain), I never read anything of his, outside of the nirvana newsgroups. He said he had a story almost ready for AITPL #9, but he never pulled it together. It makes me wonder if he has a giant box of stuff under his bed; I really wish I could get my hands on it and pull together a posthumous book of his stuff.

One of the things that has me so conflicted about this is that my most positive memories of Chuck are also ones that are closely tied to alcohol. He was a belligerent guy to start with, but get a six pack into him and wind him up, and he was god damned hilarious. He was at our 94/95 New Year’s party, and was one of the main instigators of the drunken bottle rocket fight at midnight. I have pictures of that night, and everyone there, and of course there was enough alcohol to supply a small town for a year. And every time we went to his place, we’d pick up a six on the way. And every time we went out after work, it was to the Irish Lion or something. And Chuck brewed beer, and made his own mead, and we lived on a college campus where you could pay your tuition bill in kegs if you needed to. I’m not saying Chuck was a heavy drinker, or was when he was around me, but there are touches of alcohol in all of those memories. And I’m not super anti-alcohol, even though I don’t drink now. It’s just that I had this problem where when I drank a lot, I was really god damned funny, and everybody else thought I was funny. I wasn’t happy, but I was funny. And the next day, I would not be happy or funny, but at that moment in time, I was the life of the party. And my sick psychological framework needed that, although my liver didn’t. And I wonder if Chuck had the same issues. And the guy was 44 fucking years old, and is in a wood box now. That is really fucking sad, and makes me angry, but it’s hard to process, and who should I be mad at?

Truth of the matter is, I haven’t talked to Chuck in almost ten years. The probability that I’d never see him again was high anyway, although if he called me up and said he was driving to Alaska again, the sofa bed would be his. But I haven’t talked to him or emailed in forever, and to some degree, that makes me feel like I am less deserving of having grief over this. Like I said, it’s hard to process. I don’t want to be one of those people who jumps out of the wings to start crying over this, when the people in his inner circle are the ones who need support the most. I also feel bad about not keeping in touch, but I have a lot of “keeping in touch” issues right now. Sometimes I work hard to keep in touch to a person and I just can’t; other times, I don’t even try, and it clicks. I could beat myself up over that, or I couldn’t. I don’t know.

Add to this the whole thing about me being out of shape and in poor health and worrying about my weight and my bp and my brain, and someone I know and remember as being in the best of health drops dead, and all of a sudden, that celery and berries diet sounds like a pretty damn good idea. The fact that I’m rounding third and heading for 40 really scares me. Having six digits in a retirement fund helps, but I still worry.

Funeral’s on Monday, but I can’t get out there for it. The one last strange coincidence of this whole thing is that his showing is at a funeral home right next door to my old apartment at Colonial Crest. I lived there when I first knew Chuck, and I walked past there every time I went to the grocery store. It’s always weird how this shit works out.

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Everybody Wants Some

I just finished reading Ian Christe’s book Everybody Wants Some, a history of Van Halen. I heard about this on the Talking Metal podcast, which is abuzz with news of this original-lineup reunion, minus Michael Anthony on bass, replaced by Eddie’s 16-year-old kid. Weird. Anyway, Christie wrote one of the 700 “history of metal” books that came out a few years back. When he was writing, he got in touch and wanted to stop over and photocopy all of my old zines, but we never hooked up, and actually I never read the book. So I picked up this one, touted to be the first definitive biography of the band, and got to work.

I’m going to start by saying the book is not that great, but it’s up in the air how much this was the author’s fault, and how much of the blame goes on the subject. The history of Van Halen starts with this whole interesting SoCal garage band culture, and these two Dutch kids teaming up with an outspoken Jewish son of an opthamologist, and then hits this mid-point where they are on top of the world and the whole thing implodes. But then the second half of the book is all of these years of dicking around with Sammy Hagar, and toward the end, it’s Eddie locked in a home studio, with a third of his tongue cut out from cancer, his parents dead, his wife gone, about 800 attempts at rehab, three fired/quit singers, a hip transplant, and a brother with fucked-up, inoperable neck trauma.

So at the end of the book, I’m thinking “where the fuck is the high note here?” I mean, it talked about all of the times the VH brothers broke off and tried to reconcile with Roth, with both sides saying the others were poisoning the well. And yeah, they’re back together now. But there’s a chance they will be broken apart by the time the ink dries in the book, and meanwhile, only about 12 people even care. Meanwhile, Michael Anthony the human alcohol filter is set up as the fallen silent hero or some shit, with his bass tracks mixed down, some studio tracks played by EVH, his bass solo snipped from the live set, and finally being told he had to relinquish all rights to all songs and trademarks and take a huge pay cut if he wanted to tour. And next time around, he’s fired. All of the old metalheads identify with Anthony’s party lifestyle, and who gives a fuck if Eddie can eke out Eruption while he’s sitting on stage in a wheelchair looking like the fucking cryptkeeper.

The book had one fundamental flaw which was also a benefit: it appeared that Christie did not have access to any of the members of the band. Most of the quotes were lifted from interviews with magazines or on tape, and there was no buy-in from any of the major players. (I might be wrong on this, but it sure read that way.) So that means there wasn’t any new dirt I didn’t already know. But it also meant that someone didn’t come in with an agenda and bumrush the book. Anyone in the band’s history (with the exception of Gary Cherone, who isn’t big-headed about it, probably because he was in the band for like three weeks) would completely dominate something like this, and if you only know one side of this story, you don’t know any of the story. Case in point: go pick up a copy of David Lee Roth’s Crazy From The Heat book. Now, I love this book, because it’s Roth the showman and storyteller, laying it down and getting into some really crazy shit about the road, his family, and everything else. But when I read his side of the VH split story, I wondered, “how much of this shit is true?” It wasn’t that his story was unbelievable, but I knew there were two sides, and his was going to be giant and overdramatized. And so by not doing an official Van Halen family biography, he sidesteps that problem, but also misses a lot of juice that would have justified the reading time.

Aside from the subject matter, Christie’s writing tries a little too hard in places, and didn’t hold me. It was competent, but it wasn’t a thickly textured tapestry of incredible stories and details. And why treat a band with such fucked up and incredible history just like you would if you were writing a Jewel biography? There wasn’t enough depth to blow me away, and when you’re writing about a band that (at least back in the day) was supposed to blow you away, it just didn’t mesh.

That said, there was a lot of information about Hagar-era Van Halen, and it made me think back to the years I listened to the band, back in high school. 1984 was my introduction as a junior high kid, when it was all over MTV and pop radio. And then I got into 5150 and OU812, even though everyone else wrote off Van Hagar and went on to other, heavier things. While I was reading this book, I put OU812 on the iPod during my drive to work, and was surprised at how that set of tunes totally set the stage for the summer of 1988 for me. I loved my Metallica and VoiVod and Grim Reaper, but I also had that tape in the player quite a bit, and it still takes me back. Those songs are seared into my brain, and it’s always comforting to give them another listen.

Anyway. Just started reading a Houdini biography, and I’m trying to get off the bio kick to get back to some good fiction…

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Rocktober

It’s been a strange summer for baseball for me, and I thought that it was over back on the 19th when we saw the Dodgers. Colorado won, and the Rockies were doing well coming out of that, but my schedule got too weird to get in on any of the other games, and I figured that victory would be a nice high note to end on, and then the team would get blocked by the end of the year by the Padres or something.

And it has been strange being a baseball fan here. First of all, I was not really that much of a baseball fan prior to moving here – I saw a couple of games, it was neat, but I didn’t know the difference between a foul tip and a strike. And when we moved to Colorado, most people asked me if Denver even had a major league team, and I found that among many locals, the Rockies were somewhat of an inside joke, something that took off with a flash about fifteen years ago, and then slowly took its place behind football, hockey, soccer, and basketball. Hell, the rodeo is bigger than football was back in Indiana.

But I had an apartment a block from the stadium, I had a work-at-home/part-time gig that let me skip out for day games, and tickets were usually cheaper than going to a movie in New York. So I went whenever I could. And two things happened. First, I learned to really love baseball. I love the mathematical aspect of it, the statistics and numbers and team records and batting averages. I also love the subtleties behind the game. Football (as far as I see it) is this brute force game of conquest, of pushing and shoving and blocking. (The passing game is another story, though.) Basketball: endurance, and running back and forth; it’s basically a track and field event with a ball added. Hockey: I don’t even understand hockey. But everything in baseball is knowing how to gradually change your stance or your angle or your position in order to exploit a known issue with the other team. The difference between a strikeout and a home run is a millimeter’s difference in how you hold the bat. A split-second decision in fielding is the difference between the other team scoring two or three times in one hit versus turning a triple play. You have to be strong to belt one 500 feet, but a little dude (like Kaz Matsui) can easily dominate the offense based on his ability to read the other team and react. And if a guy like Prince Fielder, who makes me look like a damn anorexic, can dominate the game, it makes me feel closer to the game, even if I could never play at the company softball skill level.

The other thing that happened is that the Rockies got good. They didn’t at first, but right around the time I started going, they started winning more games, and doing more impressive things on the field. They swept the Giants; they won two of three against the Red Sox at Boston. Then after a ton of losses, they swept the Mets. They swept the Yankees. They went into a slump, but swept the Brewers in one of the most lopsided set of games of the year. And as this picked up, I followed more games on the computer. I bought an AM radio to listen when I wasn’t there. I spent a lot of time reading up on players and opponents and history and the game itself. And I loved it even more.

And then it got weird. The Rockies simply could not lose. They lost three pitchers and had to replace them with triple-A transplants or kids right off the boat from the Dominican Republic. Matt Holliday messed up his oblique muscle. Matsui strained a ligament. They brought up a catcher, a replacement for a replacement, that dorked up his leg early in his very first MLB start. But they kept winning. A four-game sweep against the Dodgers. A road trip where they swept the Padres, then swept the Dodgers again. Then two of three against the Diamondbacks. And that meant the Rockies were tied with San Diego for the wildcard. In a 13-inning game at Coors Field, the Rockies just barely squeaked by and got the spot. People were going absolutely apeshit here – some people were actually more interested in the Rockies than the Broncos. And then the Rockies beat Philly twice on the road, (which included a phenomenal grand slam by non-power-hitter Matsui) setting up a huge huge huge Saturday night game, which could advance the Rockies to the next level, where they’ve never been before.

Anyway, I managed to get two tickets to the Saturday game by sheer luck. I bought them online before the wild card was decided, meaning I basically made a $150 bet that they’d finish. But they did, and I went to the box office and picked up my tickets on Friday. They’re different than the regular season tickets, printed on a golden-looking ticket blank. I even managed to get club seats, which meant we got to hang out in the fancy concourse and we had padded seats that were wider than the regular ones. Nice.

The game started at 7:30, so we left at 6:00, and there were already masses of people everywhere. Notably absent were ticket scalpers, since it was a sold out game and nobody was parting with their seats. Everyone got a free Rockies towel to wave around. By the time we got to our seats, it was almost an hour before the game started, and over half of the seats were already full. That’s about how many people show up for the average ho-hum game during the season, and I knew the crowd would double. It was at least as crowded as when we saw the Yankees, an event that brought out droves of no-neck shitheads to boo the home team because their $200 million dollar roster was getting slaughtered by a $50 million dollar team. This time, it was a sea of purple and spinning towels.

There were many changes this evening over all of the regular season games I saw. First, the NLDS logos were everywhere: on the grass, on the signs, on the souvenir cups you get with a Coke, and on many t-shirts, official and bootleg, in and on the audience. The advertisements were different; probably because of some MLB-brokered postseason deal. Some of the ads contradicted other ads in the stadium: a Budweiser next to a Coors; a Pepsi next to a Coke. Some were ads completely new to Coors Field: XM, Nike, TBS. They also showed some between-inning PSAs that we don’t usually get, like one about steroids. Ironically, another was for some “best season ever” thing that spotlighted Barry “will work for HGH” Bonds, which got many boos. The biggest change was the national anthem; a million Marines brought out this football field-sized flag and opened it up. Then there were a few shots of fireworks, and a million purple balloons were released into the sky. There was also a long, protracted introduction of all of the players and staff of each team. There were six umpires instead of four. Also, there was a video of John Elway saying “go Rockies” or some shit, and if Jesus would have showed up and told everyone there were keys under their seats for a free Hummer H1, it would have gotten less applause.

One of the more moving things in the game (as if there was a shortage) was the first pitch. Mike Coolbaugh was a player turned batting coach for one of Colorado’s minor league teams. Last July, he was coaching at first base and was hit in the head with a line drive, which killed him. He left behind a pregnant wife and two young boys, three and five years old. The Rockies have gone the extra mile in helping out the Coolbaugh family, holding charity events, and opening up their own checkbooks. When Matt Holliday won the Clemente award, he basically signed the back of the check and gave it to Amanda Coolbaugh. The team also unanimously voted to give the family a full share of their playoff earnings (not the *team’s* earnings, but the *player’s* earnings, right out of their pockets), and guessing at how the stadium sold out, that should be a decent chunk of change. Anyway, young Josh and Jacob were cute, and got a standing ovation from 51,000 people without a dry eye among them. As I read on a constant basis about what total shitheads most professional athletes are these days, it always amazes me when the Rockies do something like this.

We joked a lot about the plague of locusts or whatever that fucked with the pitchers in the Yankees-Indians game the night before. And a second later, these huge gale-force winds started blowing in, right into home plate. They whipped around a ton of garbage, and pitchers were able to put major heat on the ball, while the offense couldn’t hit anything out. And with the wind, the temp dropped fast. I was wearing a light jacket and thin t-shirt, and suddenly wanted a winter coat and gloves. Sarah went to the gift shop and bought a ton of stuff, and I guess everyone else did too, because the store looked like a grocery store the day before a blizzard. I put on a second shirt and a hooded sweatshirt, and that mostly kept me warm. I felt sorry for all of those Latin American ball players who never saw temps below the mid-80s in their lives.

Then, in the middle of the second inning, all of the lights in all of the light clusters went out, one by one, and in about three seconds, the entire field was dark. I seem to remember this happening at a Cubs game recently, and of course Lou threw a fit, because that is a game-calling event. A minute later, a small subset of the field lights went on, like those emergency lights that go on when the power goes out. All of the other lights were on, though. A quick-thinking PA dude put on the Springsteen song “Dancing in the Dark”. Within 15 minutes, the lights were back on, and the game continued.

And what a weird game. It was one of those pitching battles, where there were no hits or walks, and it just went back and forth, except every time Jimanez threw a pitch, there was a huge cheer. If it was two outs and a 1-1 count, everyone was on their feet like it was the final out of the final game of the World Series. Same goes for balls thrown against Rockies players. But nobody was making any progress, until the 5th inning, when the Rockies got in one. I was pretty sure the entire stadium was going to get rocked off of its foundation after what normally would be a pretty mediocre run. Then the Phillies got a single-shot homer via Victorino in the 7th to tie it up, and I anticipated the game going back and forth for another 19 innings.

In the 8th, Holliday and Helton both flied out, and things started looking very dicey. Then Atkins got a single; Hawpe got a single, and Atkins got to third. The next up was pinch hitter Jeff Baker. Baker hadn’t played much this year, and then in a Cubs series, he got hit in the face by a fast pitch, which gave him a concussion and kept him out for a while. But for whatever reason, Hurdle sent him in, and the crowd went absolutely apeshit. And on the second pitch, Baker singled a grounder to right field, driving in Atkins, and riled up everyone like throwing bloody meat into a shark tank.

At the end of the 8th, at least a hundred security people came out to the field, standing at each side three feet apart. In the 9th, Manny Corpas came to the mound, and people were yelling and screaming at each pitch, more than ever. Ryan Howard – strikeout. Aaron Rowand – a dribbled ground ball right at Helton on first base. Victorino, who had the only home run of the game, came to the plate It seems like four hours between each pitch. Strike. Foul. Ball. Then a grounder to Matsui at 2nd, throw to Todd at first – and that’s that.

Everyone was going totally absolutely apeshit. Towels were everywhere. Brooms were all over. A huge barrage of fireworks were shooting out of the scoreboard. All of the Rockies charged the field. At least a dozen police motorcycles drove up onto the warning track, and there was a SWAT team truck below our section. The screen went to the cameras in the clubhouse, and there was an entire boatload of champagne being shot all over. LaTroy Hawkins was dancing like he was auditioning for a part in Breakin’ 3. We went downstairs and I took a lot of video with my camera. I looked out onto Blake street, and there were tens of thousands of people running around, yelling, with purple hair, purple face paint, brooms, signs, and spinning towels. We fought our way back downstairs, and Glen Hurdle was trying to give a speech on the monitors, but he looked like he just jumped into a swimming pool of bubbly. Outside, every car horn in a two mile radius was glued down. Every person we walked past wanted a high-five. Luckily, we were only a block away, and got inside with no worries.

Now that would be a great end to my season, right? Almost – I got us tickets to see the second home game of the NLCS, against the Diamondbacks. Should be fun! (Especially if it snows first.)

Anyway, pix here.

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