Chapter 2: Escape from Reality
Just like a rousing happy hour after a tough day at work or a Kardashian marathon after a bad breakup, everyone needs a little escape from reality when things aren’t going particularly well.
In the case of the Yankee blogger’s escape from reality, I’m choosing not to discuss the fact that we have some serious starting pitching issues. I’d rather tell you about my second night in Boston last weekend, a game where starting pitching was about as relevant as a thesaurus in an episode of Jersey Shore.
Riding the high from spoiling the Sox anniversary celebration, Jessica and I decided to hit the Sam Adams brewery in Yankee garb early before the crowds hit. It turned out to be a memorable day for me because I’m pretty sure it was the first time I had ever imbibed a beer before noon.
Little did I know just how memorable the day would become.
After grabbing a bowl of clam chowder in Quincy Market, we decided to head out to catch the game at a bar near Fenway. We met up with my friends Kathleen and Damon, whose allegiance to the Sox immediately transformed them into the enemy. Damon, the native Bostonian, suggested we hit up the Cask and Flagon. On the way we decided to make things interesting; the “team” that lost would pony up an extra twenty bucks toward the bill at the end of the night.
We grabbed a table just as Felix Doubront hurled the first pitch. “You know,” I said to Damon, “you may actually have a shot today, since Garcia’s pitching.”
My prediction was pretty accurate. The Sox jumped all over poor Freddy, scoring two quick runs in the first inning. Sensing my discomfort, Damon challenged me. “Care to make it more interesting?”
“Always,” I stupidly answered.
“We’ll each pick three guys. If any of them gets a hit, you win a dollar. And a dollar if anyone hits a home run.”
“Okay. I’ll take Jeter, Cano, and A-Rod.” Damon opted for Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez. I scoffed. “Of course you’re going to take them! Who the hell else on the Red Sox is going to get a hit?”
I spend the next couple of innings washing down crow with my Magners on ice. By the third inning the Sox were up 7-0. Not only had I lost face, but I had also lost somewhere in the neighborhood of eighteen bucks.
I was getting desperate. “Bet you a buck Saltalamacchia doesn’t get a hit.” Who knew he would get four? Guess he had heard the rumors on SportsCenter that he was in danger of being booted from the lineup too. “Bet you a buck the ball girl boots the ball.” That one I won.
The Yankees and I got our first taste of hope in the sixth inning, when Mark Teixeira crushed a home run. 9-1 for them and a dollar for me. The inning ended quietly after that, with things still looking pretty bleak for my boys.
Top of the seventh. Andruw Jones struck out looking for the first out, and Russell Martin earned me two dollars by singling to right field. (I told you I was desperate.) Then, the TV station switched over to the last three outs of Philip Humber’s perfect game, and something truly odd happened. For those few minutes, Yankee fans and Red Sox fans joined forces to cheer on Humber.
But the harmony didn’t last long. As we watched the White Sox laud Humber, Jessica was checking the Yankee score on her phone. “Guys,” she said. “It’s 9-5 now.”
“Let me see!” I grabbed her phone from her and scrolled down the play-by-play. “Nick Swisher hit a grand slam! I can’t believe I missed that. Okay, it’s officially interesting.” I grabbed another dollar out of Damon’s pile.
Our broadcast returned just in time to see Cano double (dollar) and A-Rod reach on an error (dollar—okay, it wasn’t a hit, but he reached base). Then, Teixeira homered (dollar! With an exclamation point!) and it was officially officially interesting.
Jessica and I were high-fiving random Yankee fans—there were actually a lot of them there—and Sox fans looked worried for the first time all day.
Then the unthinkable happened. In the eighth inning, Swisher came up with the bases loaded and cleared them with a double, and effectively cleared out Fenway as well, evidenced by the parade of sullen Red Sox fans marching down Brookline Avenue as though en route to a funeral.
Speaking of funerals, doubles by Teixeira and Martin later in the inning pounded the final nails into the coffin. (More dollars. I lost count.) The Yankees had overcome a nine-run deficit to somehow take the lead 15-9.
The incredible comeback (and possibly the Magners) turned me into an instigator. I constantly taunted Kathleen and Damon and the crowd passing by though the window. Everyone seemed to be good sports, however; my friends just laughed it off, and passersby simply gave me two sad thumbs down. I was expecting to see a different finger.
Towards the bottom of the ninth, we ran into some very inebriated girls who claimed to be diehard Yankee fans and said they would take their tops off and dance on the table if the Yankees won. (Due to the fact that they didn’t even know who David Robertson is, I think they were just looking for an excuse to take off their tops.) As soon as Cody Eppley threw the final strike, they leapt up on our table and made good on their promise. I hope these chicks aren’t going for a job interview anytime soon because the entire male population of Cask and Flagon whipped out their phones to tape it. You can probably catch it on YouTube if you’re really interested, and you may even see me in the background, pointing and mouthing the words, “I don’t know them.” (Twenty more dollars coming my way! Well, ten. I split the spoils with Jessica.)
Fast forward back to reality. The Red Sox, after Bobby Valentine claimed they had hit “rock bottom” following last Saturday’s game, are now enjoying a five-game winning streak. The Yankees had an okay week, losing two out of three to the Rangers but taking the first game against Detroit in dramatic, or at least unorthodox, fashion with a walk-off passed ball. However, Michael Pineda’s out for the season and Phil Hughes served up another stinker.
So who’s going to be tops this season in the AL East? It may be the Yankees, or the Red Sox, or neither. And sure, the next time we meet our rivals they’ll be out for blood, and maybe they’ll even win a game, or maybe they’ll sweep us.
But chances are they won’t make a nine-run comeback in the seventh inning. That, my friends, is all ours.