Hello, I Must Be Going

Five days in the life: An anguished ALCS diary

[Editor's note: This final edition of Yard for 2002 consists of entries taken from Brad Zellar's online playoff Weblog, About Last Night, which can be seen in its entirety at citypages.com.]

 

Game 1: Twins 2, Angels 1

"Fun" doesn't even begin to describe this. As someone who routinely attended dozens of games every year throughout the Twins long post-'91 slide--as a paying customer, mind you--this whole experience has been tremendous and gratifying on more levels than I could begin to describe in my paralyzed, brain-static euphoria. You tend to forget that it's actually more exhausting to root for a winning team than a losing team. When the Twins sucked so bad in the mid- to late-'90s going to games was more or less like watching TV; it was something to do, but you no longer had any real investment of hope or enthusiasm in the experience. This sort of thing--playoff baseball--this is something entirely different. It might kill me.

The big question, of course, is: Is this the same Angels team that hit .376 in the Yankee series? And: Are the Twins once again a team of destiny?

 

Game 2: Angels 6, Twins 3

I hung around the ballpark until far too late and got drenched walking back downtown to my car and it's now almost three o'clock in the morning. Tonight was just the latest installment of the Good News, Bad News Bears. There was a banner hanging down the left field line that said, "Ravishing Rick Reed," and I hope like hell somebody was making fun of the guy and not actually trying to adopt him as a hero. Ravishing? Rick Reed?

I was happy Reed didn't get the nod to start game one of the divisional series, and I'll be glad when he's gone. The guy makes $7 million a year and he's about as gutless as they come. I honestly don't know what happens with pitchers like Reed, how they can go from dominating to essentially pitching batting practice from one start to the next. Face it, people: Reed spent the last half of the season padding his record against the dregs of the Central Division. Good teams just kick his fat ass all over the park.

He wasn't just bad tonight, he was unconscionably bad. Scott Klingenbeck bad. It was even more terrible than his last start against Oakland. In Reed's two playoff starts he's lasted just over ten innings and given up six home runs, a triple, a couple of doubles, five singles, and two walks. Clearly the cagey old veteran has been a godsend to the young Twins.

Jacque Jones would look mighty good in another uniform right now too. The way he's been swinging, he couldn't hit Rick Reed. And Ron Gardenhire? The guy couldn't manage a Happy Chef. Screw 'em all. They're gonna tear out my heart and spit on it, and then they're all going to go fishing for three months.

 

Game 3: Angels 2, Twins 1

There were so many moments that struck me as pivotal, starting with that nasty slider Milton threw to strikeout that dirtbag Erstad in the first, and Hunter's terrific catch of Salmon's drive. And how about Wooten's 12-pitch at bat in the second, culminating with a single into the hole with Spiezio running? Runners at first and third, one out, and I thought, uh oh, here we go. Then Milton gets Molina to pop up, and fans Gil to get out of the jam. But, shit, a 31-pitch second inning. I thought the Twins had to come right out and make something happen in the third to pick up their pitcher, and for about 10 minutes it looked like they would.

That was easily the worst game I've ever seen Corey Koskie play, and I figured this series was going to show the world what a gamer the guy is. And Troy Glaus? Up close that guy is the most imposing figure I think I've ever seen on a baseball diamond. Koskie doesn't even belong on the same field with Glaus. As ridiculous as it might sound, when Romero got down 3-1 to him I was secretly hoping he would just put him on and take his chances with the guys behind him. I knew what he would do with that 3-1 slider. And then, of course, we were looking at Troy Percival. Does that guy look like the orneriest fucker on the planet, or what? Percival looks like a heavy in a Sergio Leone Western, and I think the Twins sense they're whipped the minute the bullpen door opens and he starts his plug-assed, pigeon-toed trot in to the mound.

 

Game 4: Angels 7, Twins 1

Any day now, any minute, Winter's gray boys are gonna come goose-stepping up the dark street to give me a big, fat suppository full of melancholia, after which they'll drag me through a tunnel of failing light and put me on the black bus for the slow crawl to April. There's not a damn thing for it. It happens every year about this time, and it just so happens that the events of the past several days have put the grim procedure on an accelerated schedule. You know as well as I do that Seasonal Affective Disorder is just a fancy name for the end of the baseball season.

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