It's not that I've been texting people back in Colorado all night, having to hear (or read) their shit even though up until a month ago they thought Tulowitzki was a Polish diplomat.
It's not that I had to dip into a random bar in Astoria tonight - waiting for Business or Leisure? to get home - just so I could watch the first inning of the game ... and have the resident drunks all tell me that they're cheering for the Rockies because they took them and the over. (Random note: one of them thought "a mile" was 20,000 feet, which he quickly amended by shortening it to 3,500 feet which, in reality, is only about 33% off.)
It's not that I wore the lucky hat tonight, which I didn't wear yesterday - because I wanted to wear the 3/4 sleeve Padres shirt with the Bronco hat while I watched the Colts dismantle Denver with slim, slim hopes that the Friars would pull it out against the Brewers and end this orgasmic madness that has become the NL playoff picture.
And it's not even that Matt Holliday clearly, poetically, irrevocably and unmistakably did not touch home plate; nope, not even that.
It's the fact that I, with good Scotch, cheap Vodka and plenty of domestic brew cannot, in any way, shape or form, muster up the strength to post some picture that shows you how I feel.
We here at the Pretzel Factory are all about humor. Most of the time. We like funny things; like, say, a hamster holding a bouquet of flowers. That shit's funny. But I ain't got it. I got nothin'. Nada. Zilch. Zero. The big kaput.
I can tell you the man-love I felt when Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam to put the Pads up 4-3 in the third, and somewhat legitimize this team by having a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy (albeit in 163 games). I can tell you how a-fucking-glad I was to have Heath Bell on my team when he came in and straight shut the fucking door after Jake Peavy departed with a not-so-Cy-Young-esque effort. I can tell you the complete, juvenile, bare-feet-on-wet-grass joy I felt when Jorge Julio entered the game in the 13th and proceeded to throw baseballs towards Jupiter before grooving a pitch to Scott Hairston that "The Thing" pounded into the left-field seats for a seemingly insurmountable 8-6 lead. I can tell you that I then went to the restroom feeling giddy, feeling good ...
And then I can tell you that Hoffy came to the mound.
This is where the lack of a picture makes sense. A picture can be worth a thousand words - and in this day and age, a link may well be worth a million - but I can be sure, within a zillionth of an inch, that the pain in these words will be worth far more than any image you may lay your feeble eyes upon. For when Trevor Hoffman came in, and gave up a double to Kaz Matsui ... I'm going to say this slow, just so you understand . . . K-a-z M-a-t-s-u-i . . . I knew it was over. A two-strike gapper? To Kaz Matsui?
From there it unfolded like a wet origami swan. Tulowitzki - BAM! - double. MVP candidate and chin-gasher Holliday - BAM! - triple. Jamey Carroll - yeah, that's how it's spelled - BAM! - sac fly for the win. All off a closer who, it's unfortunately painfully evident, should give up his "Hell's Bells" theme song to the shut-down, fuck-you reliever who can: A) get people out when it matters; and B) claim that his surname is actually in the title of the goddamn song.
These are just rants, I guess, of a lunatic, a man who should find solace in the cold, weathering embrace of Mets fans around him. But who has more to be ashamed of? Surely it's the Mets, right? They had the biggest collapse ever, they showed no heart, they packed it in and gave it away.
But the Padres had the same ample opportunity to get into the playoffs; all they had to do was beat a down-trodden team once in the season's final two games, and they were in. They had a likely Hall of Fame-closer going in one of games, and the franchise's most popular player's son hit a game-tying triple off him. Go figure. Karma works in mysterious ways, but destiny appears to be one straight-ass shooter.
I got home tonight, tired and sullen, feeling sorry for myself. But then I realized there was a great few weeks of baseball left, and I should be ready for that. So I took the lucky hat off slowly, painfully, and eyed the top of the bookcase in my room where I store all my caps. There's really no rhyme or reason to them up there; they just kinda are. So I took it off and flung it up there.
It tumbled back down.
I stubbornly bent down, my back flaring up, my muscles sore from sitting awkwardly and fidgeting, being tense, watching the game. I picked it up and flung it up once more.
Again, it fell back down.
I cursed myself. I cursed the heavens. I cursed the baseball Gods and everyone from Fred Snodgrass to Joaquin Andujar.
I picked it up and chucked it up into the far corner, where it landed upside-down. It stayed.
Good, I thought. Third time's a charm.
It's just too bad the Padres won't get to find that out.