Sunday, October 05, 2008

Switching To Fall

“Looks like someone moved the switch to ‘Fall’”, jokes the mom as she walks her son into the Basilica’s Youth Ministry. I’ve played the Minnesotan-discussing-the-weather role enough, and know it’s my job to agree good-naturedly. But I’m not staying in the school with mom and The Chatty Chatty Princess. I’m going to soak up The Fall a bit, do a little wandering, hopefully spiritually as much as physically.

That was a half hour ago, and now I’m sitting on a bench in Loring Park, overlooking cat ‘o nine tails, a pond, and rising condos with large red banners that display enormous telephone numbers. The wandering turned into planning, and the planning turned into writing, mostly because I’m hoping the laptop warms me a bit.[1]

The cold, cloudy and slightly gusty weather is ugly, but it has some healing properties, the meteorological equivalent of a scab. I’ve been too busy the last few days with various crises to think about the Twins season or even GameDay. I’ve also been too busy to watch most of the playoffs, and I’m realizing that’s not a new phenomenon. Since I’ve started this blog and thought about baseball on a daily basis, I’ve often quit following October baseball after my Twins were no longer factors.[2]

That changed last night since The Voice of Reason’s team, the Phillies, are alive and well in the postseason. We had a planned date last night, going to Champps Alley in the Warehouse District to see if the Phils could sweep the Brewers out of the playoffs. It didn’t go particularly well for the Phils, but we did well enough.

It was way too cold for the Alley, but we tried it anyway, placing TVOR directly under one of those propane heating umbrellas. The weather meant that a good portion of the handful of customers was either regulars or employees who were off-duty, and we had a nice time comparing stages of life with them.

I asked TVOR what I should order and she gave me here eye roll. She’s heard that joke roughly two dozen times, because in the past 15 years I have never – not once – ordered anything besides the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Waffle Fries and Seasoned Sour Cream. I’m surprised a bigger deal isn’t made of this, especially because I know I’m not alone. My brother, who lives in Australia, brings a list of food he must have in every return visit, and the BCSwWFaSSC is on there every time. It’s not just me.[3]

We pay as much attention to the beers[4], the commercials[5], and the local wildlife[6] as to the game. It is not going like we might have hoped. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel makes a somewhat dubious aggressive move early in the game, pulling Jamie Moyer for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth. I don’t know that it cost them the game, but it didn’t help. Later I notice that the Brewers have brought in Eric Gagne, and he looks tinder dry, begging to be torched. A runner is on base, and he falls beyond to Chase Utley, and we stir the ashes a bit, looking for a spark. But Utley chases a bad 3-1 pitch with Ryan Howard waiting on deck. The 3-2 pitch is popped up, and the sparks fade.

But I notice that I’m not living and dying with every pitch, like I was earlier this week. I’m not dissecting at-bats, or looking up a ballplayer’s splits against left-handers. I’m just watching a game, watching a bar, and watching my wife. Maybe regaining some perspective. Maybe healing a little. There is time now to wander around, find some of these other things. Someone has moved the switch to ‘Fall’.


[1] It is not unlike Bill Murray in The Razors Edge, when he starts burning pages from his spiritual books to keep warm. The fire leads to his moment of enlightenment. The laptop just causes my butt to fall asleep.

[2] This is a big change for me. I used to be an absolute fall baseball junkie in the 90s. It was one of my favorites sporting events for the real-world drama, like the first round of the NCAA tournament still is. And I wonder if the change is because I’m blogging, and absolutely gorging on baseball during the season. Or if it’s because the Twins don’t suck, so I’m not starved for relevant baseball come October. I suspect both.

[3] I suppose it could be genetic.

[4] I like beer. So when you have 12 beers on tap, I’m gong to find one that I like, and with Summit and Sam Adams, I was taken care of. But I gotta ask – why would you have four light beers on tap? Champps had Miller Lit, Bud Light, Coors Light and Mich Golden light clogging up 1/3 of their available tap beers. The bartender swears that it is absolutely necessary. They actually get unholy spawn of brand marketing who reject beer completely if all the bar has is Miller, Bud and Coors Light. I’m pretty sure this is somehow tied to the End of Days.

[5] The savvy folks at Viagra have done it again. Sponsoring a “Plays That Changed The Game” spot during the Phils/Brewers game, they chose Joe Carter’s home run in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. You know, the one that killed the Phillies dream season in 1993, and still causes 37% of the Philly metro area to awake screaming a couple of times per year. Clever strategy that. The lesson? Buy stock in Cialis.

[6] We’re almost sure we saw a paid escort. There is no other way to explain it.


Jeff Bonnes said...

Mmmmm. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with Waffle Fries and Seasoned Sour Cream. It's on the list. See you in a couple weeks!

Jeff Bonnes (in Australia)

Jack Ungerleider said...


I know what you mean about the playoffs. I blinked and the next thing I know the Cubs are done. So much for winning on the '08s. ;-)

Enjoy the Fall, Winter should be here next week.

Steve said...

I would never feel right watching the Phillies at a bar while drinking anything besides Yuengling Lager.

John said...

Not even Dock Street?

John said...

Not even Dock Street?