Of Gods and Men


On Sports

Dear Louisa,

I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself so far.

I have a serious question to ask you; in fact, I have a serious piece of begging to do. May I please switch teams, just for game 4? It’s not the Texas collapse that leads me to this embarrassing volte face. It’s not Cliff Lee’s implosion that I mind—although we have to discuss that—or the fact that Josh Hamilton and Michael Young are hitting a buck twenty-five each, or even that Matt Cain looks like he’s wearing a clown wig under his cap in honor of Halloween. These are all things I can deal with. No, the problem is that the George Bushes, pere et fils (just to be elitist about it) are scheduled to throw out the first pitch in game 4. I had been willing to overlook the issue of previous ownership, but this is too much. I would like the Rangers to win tomorrow, lose game 4 and then have Cliff come back and win game 5 with me a fan all over again. What do you think, is this possible?

But before I come over, if you’ll have me, a couple of thoughts. Before game 6 of the ALCS, I had dinner with a Ranger-supporting friend of mine. We agreed that the Rangers had to win the game and not go to Lee in game 7, as he was surely destined to lose after his tremendous performances earlier in the series. There had been way too much hype about Lee, and for reasons that any regular reader of Homer—or indeed Louis L’Amour—will understand, a new dawn has to follow a long night. Game 1 was that night, and boy, was it brutal: four innings, eight hits, and a spike in postseason ERA from under two to 11.57. Rangers manager Ron Washington said that Lee didn’t have his curveball working and explained that his pitcher was only human, a fact I had certainly forgotten. Thursday night was completely different: an amazing pitching duel until C. J. Wilson got a blister, and that was that. He glued the skin on his finger back together once after the second inning, and then, in the seventh, it went for good, and so did the Rangers’ chances. During the eighth, I kept expecting Roberto Duran to run in yelling “no mas.”

I don’t for a second mean to belittle the Giants’ achievement. They’ve been fantastic. Edgar Renteria was never that good at Fenway—to be accurate, he was never any good at Fenway—but his performance this year is a reminder of his 1997 single to win the World Series for the Marlins. Juan Uribe’s batting average is, for once, higher than his weight. The pitching has been even better than you said it would be; Lincecum and Cain just look nasty, and we haven’t even really gotten to see Brian Wilson—the bearded closer with an IQ of 188 hasn’t been needed—in any meaningful way.

I have no idea what will happen, but I’d like to think it’s only going to get more exciting. Texas simply cannot continue to be this bad, can they? (Well, maybe, if Ron Washington keeps leaving relievers in, like he did poor Derek Holland, because he thought he could only get better.) Hamilton and the rest are going to have to remember how to hit, and I would like to see Elvis Andrus run the bases again, please. We haven’t even gotten to see the San Francisco Torture ball yet; it’s all been too easy. Is this just the Giants’ year? And if so, what does that mean for Nancy Pelosi?

All the best