I enjoy following, listening, but not always watching MLB and the Marlins. I also enjoy the emphasis in the field of economics which assumes that human behavior is rational and based on incentives and try to find that logic in my everyday activities. Being an active fan and having an overall goal to make efficient use of my time are at obvious odds. David Allen makes a nice living preaching to the likes of me.
But the habit’s initial entry point–the family’s Zenith radio [not the one pictured, but close]–which I once loved but now equate to the method of attacking civilization used in Stephen King’s novel, Cell. i.e., an entry point for evil.
In the early 1970’s I would sit alone and carefully calibrate the dial to pick up 1360 WKAT which carried the Atlanta Braves. My favorite scenario was when they were on the west coast to play the LA Dodgers, as I had the kitchen to myself with no pesky human witnesses to impede my assault on the fridge [the roaches were unamused]. If we are keeping score, that’s two more bad habits–staying up late and snacking–which arrived through the portal.
Over the years, the disease host [Zenith] easily morphed its way onto cable television. In the early morning hours of July 5th 1985, I experienced a crack-like hit. The glorious baseball game which began with and endured two hours of rain delays, lasted an actual six hours, ended at 4 am, had a player hit for the cycle and saw the Atlanta Braves hit two two-out game-tying home runs in extra innings. Afterwards, the Braves stadium people, clearly in a sleep-deprived decision-making mode, went ahead and emptied out their fireworks, which resulted in numerous 911 calls in the Atlanta area.
The second of those two-out home runs was hit by a middle relief pitcher who had the worst career batting average of any active MLB player when he stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 18th inning, his name was Rick Camp. Camp hit the home run on an 0-2 count. Often, when I hear one of those jokes about people wasting their Genie-granted wishes on less than miraculous things, I think of that home run.
I was watching and I knew I had just seen one of the most amazing sports-related things ever. But it must have been around 3:30 am, there was no one who I could turn to or call. I walked outside my Little Havana house on the possibility that there was someone else watching who needed to have another human being confirm what they had just seen. There was no one and besides that, I was quickly reminded that I didn’t live in the safest of neighborhoods.
What I saw when I walked back inside made this the greatest game ever. The Mets scored 5 runs in the top of the 19th inning. Now I know the Camp 18th inning home run is the main thing here, so if the game had ended with the Braves going 3-up and 3-down, it’s still gotta be one of the top 5 games ever, no doubt. But what happened next makes it #1 and if you disagree you’re probably the type of person who thinks public employee unions are a good thing for democracy.
The Braves had two outs with a runner on second. Then, walk, walk, single and the tying run comes up to the plate in the person of Rick Camp. Again an 0-2 count. This time he strikes out. I was standing up and not breathing during his at-bat. Greatest game ever, case closed.
The unproductive activity I alluded to earlier is watching or listening to the end of sporting events involving teams I root for which will almost certainly [98% probability] result in defeat, i.e. I’m not even counting close or interesting games. The irrational fear is the fear of missing any comeback. Missing any comeback is annoying, missing a great comeback is anathema. Fortunately, I have only one other irrational [plenty of rational ones] fear in life, that is being outside of Miami the day Fidel Castro suffers a violent and agonizing [OK, … any kind of] death.
Recently the Marlins had one of those comebacks against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was a comeback on steroids with 14 unanswered runs, culminated with a 10-run eight inning. It was the 3rd time in MLB history that a team had come from 7 runs down and won by at least 7 runs. I missed the comeback. I didn’t just miss it, I missed it in the most egregious of manners. I gave up on the game based on the time and score [down 7 in the 5th]. I turned my back on what may be the highlight of the season for what? A little extra sleep? Taking the easy way out has left an empty feeling. This must be what it feels like to vote for Democrats.
Thank goodness Bluto and Otter weren’t around to see it:
D-Day (Bruce McGill): War’s over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter (Tim Matheson): [whispering] Germans?
Boon (Peter Riegert): Forget it, he’s rolling.
Bluto: And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… [thinks hard] the tough get goin’! Who’s with me? Let’s go! [runs out, alone; then returns] What happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh? “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well just kiss my ass from now on! Not me! I’m not gonna take this. Wormer, he’s a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer –
Otter: Dead! Bluto’s right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part.
Bluto: We’re just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let’s do it.
Bluto: LET’S DO IT!!
[Chaos ensues–for most of the rest of the movie]