Saturday, May 14, 2005

Why do I care?

Cubs 6, Nats 3

Friday the 13th

I care too much. Five years ago I went to the MCI Center to cheer on my Red Wings against the Capitals. I thought it was pathetic that there were so many Wings fans.

Tonight at RFK (aka Wrigley Field Southeast) I was the one who felt bad. Lots of Cubs fans, maybe a third of the attendance. It wasn't that bad, but the Cubbie fans were vocal.

I wanted to win so bad to shut them up. I don't blame them for rooting for their team. But I wanted to beat their asses.

We got something started early. Bennett drives in a run. 1-0 good guys. Nats fans happy; Cubs fans quiet.

Then our Hall of Fame manager puts on a suicide squeeze. Gutsy call, doesn't work out. NJ caught in a rundown.

Whoops

Loaiza hiccups in the fourth. Cubs string some hits together. 2-1 Chicagoans. Cubs fans go nuts. Nats fans boo to try to drown them out.

My stomach starts to hurt. We're losing. Why do I even care?

Cub fans are obnoxious. We need some runs.

Bottom sixth. "Pops" Guillen singles. Alright, this is a start.

Vinny walks. Even better.

Ryan Church pinch-hits for Hammonds. Patches singles! Why wasn't he in the game from the beginning?!

Game tied at two apiece. Cubs fans quiet.

NJ pops up. Bennett walks. Bases juiced for Mateo.

Nope, Frank's gonna hit Big Boy Baerga. Maybe the rookie should get a shot, I think. But Baerga's been swinging a good stick.

Big Boy chops to the pitcher. 1-2-3 double play. Damn! Well, we tied the game.

Loaiza goes out for his last inning; pitcher's spot is due up first in the seventh. Loaiza retires the Cubs, mixing in a walk. Not a bad job by Stevey L.

Seventh inning stretch. I don't sing. But I shout out "NATIONALS" during the "root, root root for the..." part. Damn Cubbies fans think they're cool.

Wait a minute. What the hell?! Loaiza in the on deck circle? What the HELL is wrong with Frankie? Why do I even care? Frankie's gonna eff it up.

Loaiza strikes out. I bang my head against the railing. The usher turns around and smiles. "I know," he says. "Shoulda pinch hit." Maybe Loaiza's pitch count is low.

Nats go down in order.
What the hell? Ayala comes out for the eighth. What the hell, Frankie? For Chrissakes.

Suddenly I get it. Blanco is the only one left on the bench. Probably should save him. But WHY did Baerga hit for Mateo?! Give the rookie a chance and keep two bats on the bench. And wait! If you have to hit a pitcher in this situation, hit ¡Livan! The man won a Silver Slugger. He's probably a better hitter than Baerga anyways.

Frankie managed himself into a corner on this one. I could manage this team better. Why do I give a crap?

Aramis Ramirez goes yard leading off the eighth. Bastard. Damn Cub fans think they're cool. 3-2 bad guys. Ah well, one run. We've come back before.

Ayala

Burnitz doubles. Barrett sacrifices him to third. One out. Ayala plunks the number seven hitter. First and third, one out.

Here comes "The Chief" to put out the fire.

"Let's go CUB-BIES!" Nat fans respond with a mild booing. Pathetic. No one else cares, why should I?

Burnitz is picked off! Rundown! But Gary P.B. Bennett is the catcher. He caught a case of "Baerga's Iron Hands" -- balls clanks off his glove, Burnitz scores. 4-2 Cubs.

Iron Hands Part Deux

Cubbie fans start jeering. I hide my face.

Cordero walks Hairston.

Patterson dribbles one into no man's land between the pitcher and first base. "Chief" tries the scoop play, but jai-lai's it into foul ground.

Can't even bear to watch

6-2 Cubs. They're openly partying now in Wrigley Southeast.

Now I'm pissed. Real pissed. I don't mind getting beat. I HATE throwing the game away. There's just no excuse for Little League effort like that.

We go meekly in the eighth. Cub fans love it.

Harry Potter Day pitches the ninth. He pitches like he doesn't care. If he doesn't, why should I? Believe it or not, he gets out unscathed.

Bottom nine. Three outs 'till the Cubs party.

Bah, NJ flies out deeep to left center. One out.

Bennett doubles! Alright a baserunner.

Good ol' Guzzy pops up. Down to our final out.

Heyyyyyyy, it's Blanco! Frankie decided to take him off the bench!

Wonder of wonders, he doubles in Bennett!

Six to THREE now! Hope springs eternal!

Wilky walks. I'm standing now.

0-2 to Jamey Carroll. Cub fans are confident now.

Scrappy Jamey Carroll fouls off pitch after pitch. My knees start to buckle.

Full count. Nat fans are awake now. Third base stands shake a little.

Jamey works a walk. I double over with excitement. New Cubs pitcher.

"Pops" Guillen is up! He's been talking about making big plays. I can feel it. RFK is pulsing.

Guillen lifts the 2-0 pitch to DEEP right field. My heart soars with the arc of the ball. But it crashes back to earth as the ball settles into Burnitz's glove on the warning track. Game over.

I groan loudly and put my head in my hands.

Cub fans are jubilant leaving the stadium. Nat fans don't care, they're just happy to have seen a ballgame!

Cub fans care. They won.

I care. We lost.

Parking Lot 8 is awful dark.

Strains of the Rolling Stones creep through the car radio as car headlights pierce the darkness of 295.

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need

Why do I care? Why am I so crushed about this loss? I have a decent job, my own place, a beautiful fiancée. I don't need this stress. I already have what I need.

The off-ramp onto Route 1 is a tight turn.

The voice of Tom Petty greets me as I near my apartment.

Well I won't back down
No I won't back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won't back down

Hey. Buck up! We've lost before!

Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out
(and I won't back down...)
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won't back down

Tomorrow is another night.

I don't know why. But I definitely care.

3 Comments:

Blogger MattNats said...

Nice write-up. It's really a shame we couldn't pull it out. I guess the only thing we can take from that is that, but for a couple of critical errors, we should've beaten them.

And we'd better set about to beating their sorry Northsider asses tonight and tomorrow.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Basil said...

On the other hand, Rocket, you found $265 lying around!

Seriously, this one must have been agonizing.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! Your analogy to rooting for the Wings at MCI captured my thoughts last night exactly. I've gone in to that place proudly wearing my Brian Leetch jersey, cheering for the Rangers, many many times, and never hear a word from the pathetic Caps fans.

We Nats fans can't let things turn in that direction. Tell Cubs fans who are getting rowdy to have an Old Style and stfu like they do at Wrigley. Cheer "We want Nomar!" Or just start cheering "1908". I welcome visiting fans, but that doesn't mean they should be comfortable.

As an aside, it was also humorous to hear them cheer "let's go Cubbies" since that is not a cheer that you will hear at Wrigley.

10:46 AM  

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