Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Skinny on the Double-Dip

The missus and me spent a quiet night at home last night. Neither of us is as young as we used to be - although for whatever it is worth I am a bit grayer and she is a bit shorter - and since we spent our Friday night/early Saturday morning participating in the celebration of Dave/Lindsay's wedding we decided to throttle back quite a bit yesterday. In theory it was a wonderful idea.

I am a fairly passionate follower of both the Yankees and my alma mater. As you may be aware, both of them had a game last night and both games were on-air where I could watch them for the warmth and comfort of my own den. They are teams that have been on two different trajectories during their respective seasons. In Boulder - way back when in December 2008 - our old ball coach (coming off a 5 and 7 campaign) predicted that the '09 season would include "ten wins and no excuses" for the Buffs. Unfortunately for Coach Hawkins - whose mad math skills are apparently a match for my own - going into last night's home game against the
#15 Kansas Jayhawks - the Buffs had played five of their scheduled twelve games and won only one of them.

It has been a tough autumn on the Front Range. As his team has struggled, Hawkins has had his "guarantee" thrown back in his face by fans and media alike. After last week's debacle at Austin - where the Buffs magically converted a 14-10 halftime lead into a 38-14 final deficit against Texas - he benched his starting quarterback - who also happens to be his son. Last night, the Buffs were led by their new starter, a young man named Tyler Hansen, and although they almost spit the bit after intermission, they pulled the upset. Trailing 30-27 in the middle of the fourth quarter (having given up every bit of a 24-10 halftime lead), Hansen led them down the field to score the go-ahead touchdown. In the waning moments of the game, the defense did something it has not done since 2001, which was make a stop when it had to. Mere seconds after the final pass into the end zone was knocked away by one of the Buffs' defensive backs, fans poured out onto the field. And in a nice change of pace, they were not carrying lighted torches and pitchforks looking for the head coach. It was an honest to goodness on-field celebration.

The action from Folsom Field concluded at some point after 11:00 p.m. my time, which meant that by game's end I was laying in bed upstairs as opposed to sitting in the den downstairs. At my core, I might be the laziest person you know (I am certainly the laziest one I know) and the thought of falling asleep in the den only to wake up and make the walk upstairs to bed simply annoys me. It requires the expenditure of effort I would rather hold onto for a rainy day, which given the weather pattern we have been locked into here 'NTSG for the past several days probably means today.

Once the Buffs game ended I focused all of my attention on the Yankees. I wondered - as I watched A.J. Burnett - a signing I was opposed to months in advance of him revealing himself to be a complete douche whining to anyone who would listen to him about his stated preference for his catcher. Burnett - every inch the little girl with the curl (regardless of what type of prison-buzz cut he gives himself) was both brilliant and bewildering last night. When he uncorked a 55 foot wild pitch that plated the tying run in the top of the fifth inning, an inning in which he threw 38 pitches, I waited for the explanation post-game as to why throwing the ball only as far as the cutout around home plate was - somehow - the catcher's fault. He called the pitch perhaps? And then I remembered - it was Molina and not Posada behind the plate, which meant that the mistake had to have been Burnett's.

Clearly, the foul weather prevented my text message to Joe Girardi from reaching the Yankees skipper. I distinctly requested a quick, tidy, relaxing victory - to be completed within the confines of the duly-appropriated nine innings. Instead, I got one that ended shortly after 1:00 a.m. this morning and thirteen innings of baseball. An ending made possible by another edition of the Alex Rodriguez Road to Post-Season Redemption Chronicles. Thus far in the playoffs, Rodriguez has been remarkably clutch. It is early yet - only two games through round two - and as a Yankees fan I have a still-vivid memory of how the season ended the last time they held a 2-0 lead in the League Championship Series. Yet, it is impossible to not be happy with the results to date thus far this October as five games played have resulted in five wins.

Maybe it will prove - in the long run - to be beneficial for me that I awakened this morning running on more fumes than fuel. Today is the day the Rob leaves to return to his temporary residence 'neath the lights of Cheyenne. I think I would prefer to deal with that while firing on something less than all cylinders. That way, the realization of what I have just done will likely not fully hit me until after I have returned home from Newark Airport.

It makes for a safer drive home - much more so.

-AK

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