As I sat staring vacantly at the TV in the ninth inning of last night’s Kansas City-Minnesota game, I had another of my brief, increasingly pathetic revelations. My God, I said to my dog, This really is my life.
Which is something I find myself saying to my dog with alarming frequency of late.
I’d been sitting there for almost three hours. The sound on the television was muted and I was listening to some mournful Armenian blowing narcotic tendrils of fog through an instrument called a duduk. I’d eaten entirely too much candy, almost all of it the sort of novelty garbage that is created expressly for abject convenience store consumers like myself –DOTS Elements, for instance (Fire/Cinnamon, Water/Green Tea, Earth/Pomegranate, Air/Wintergreen). Or Twizzlers Rainbow Twists. Or Life Savers Fruit Splosions Gummies ("Made with real fruit juice"). Good stuff, all of it, but probably best savored in moderation.
There was really no good reason for me to still be sitting on the couch as the game went into the ninth inning. The Royals had an 8-3 lead and seemed well on their way to ending a nine-game losing streak. It had been a pretty miserable game all around, and somebody who had anything whatsoever else to do with their evening would have turned off the television (or at the very least turned the channel) after Delmon Young made two errors and the Royals scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Livan Hernandez was getting rocked, and would leave after the sixth, having surrendered thirteen hits and eight runs (six of them earned).
I can’t even pretend that I was still watching with anything approaching hope or expectation. No, the sad truth is that I was simply (or not so simply) unable to move. I think it’s safe to say that I was in a sugar-induced stupor, and I was aware that I could no longer feel my right arm and that I was chanting –as I so often chant when I am watching a baseball game in a sort of empirical blackout– "Hey batta, batta, batta. Hey, batta, batta."
On some level, then, I was also apparently aware that the Twins were batting in the ninth inning, and so I watched with zero enthusiasm or even real interest as Michael Cuddyer went down swinging for the first out against KC reliever Ramon Ramirez. I watched as Jason Kubel singled and the beleaguered Delmon Young whiffed for the second out.
What in the world would I do with the rest of my night? I wondered.
Kubel made his way to second on a wild pitch, and Mike Lamb singled, scoring Kubel. It was still 8-4, Royals, but at least, I thought, the Twins were going to go down swinging. Bully for them.
Brendon Harris singled, moving Lamb to second, and then Carlos Gomez chopped one through the infeld, scoring Lamb. 8-5, Royals. Nice little two-out rally, I thought.
Joel Peralta was brought in to relieve Ramirez. Ron Gardenhire countered by sending up Craig Monroe to pinch hit for Alexi Casilla. Monroe took three balls and then managed to work the count full. And then he somehow managed to turn on a pitch and hit it over the left field fence to tie the game.
And then Denys Reyes and Jesse Crain somehow managed to get through the bottom of the ninth without allowing a run.
And then Justin Morneau somehow managed to hit Peralta’s first pitch of the tenth for another homer, and the Twins were somehow, suddenly, up 9-8.
And then Joe Nathan, fresh off his first blown save of the season, somehow managed to retire the Royals in order in the bottom of the inning and the Twins had another win.
And then I’ll be damned if I didn’t eat some more candy and immediately wonder, What in the world will I do with the rest of my night?
And then it occurred to me (baseball and sleeplessness having once again conspired to kindle my spiritual lunacy), Perhaps I might finally get around to baptizing my dog.