When I woke up this morning I knew this day would be full of emotion. Rooting for your favorite teams is what makes sports both the most enjoyable and the most heart wrenching of experiences. After yesterday's rainout, I volunteered to take on the doubleheader with the full knowledge that the season for the Angels hung in the balance. A sweep and an A's loss and the Halos would have been one game out of the wildcard and only three out of the division title. Conversely, two losses would have ended their season on the spot. The stakes don't get any higher. So rather that a traditional recap I'm going to try to take you through the day and the rollercoaster it was. (WARNING: THIS IS A LONGER POST THAN I INTENDED. BUT I THINK IT"S WORTH THE READ)
Game One — Greinke vs. Darvish
– Yu Darvish comes out throwing darts and the Angel offense looks punchless. Meanwhile, the equipment manager's for the Angels still can't spell Zack's name as he dons the road grey jersey with GRIENKE on the back. I am not filled with confidence
– Torii Hunter loses a ball in the sun after GRIENKE gives up a two run homer and the Rangers are up early. I now change into my lucky Angels shirt. Not sure what I was thinking not wearing it from the start.
– Albert Pujols will come up on more than occasion with a chance to be a hero. He will fail in most of the these circumstances. I have never seen a superstar so unclutch.
– Angels trail 4-2 when Mike Trout seals his MVP trophy with his 30th home run to dead center. It looked like Hamilton caught it for a moment., but all of a sudden the Angels are down by only a run. I now change my youngest son into his lucky Angels shirt. I know, bad parent for not planning ahead.
– Top of the ninth and all we need to do is get Trout back up (he was sitting fourth to bat). This should tell you all you need to know about the Angels that the hopes of the team rest on a guy who couldn't drink when the season started. Chirs Iannetta draws a HUGE WALK (really it was quite impressive, Jonah Hill from Moneyball would have had an orgasm over it.) However, Magic Mike strikes out. The people of Detroit simultaneously take over Twitter in glee.
– Torii Hunter picks everyone up with a massive double scoring two and giving the Angel's the lead. Torii has been the absolute man all September. Watching someone play with the sense of urgency that comes with an athlete staring his last chance at the post-season down is breathtaking. Trout may be the future and Albert may be the face, but Torii is the heart and soul of the Angels and still my favorite on this team.
– Ernesto Frieri shuts it down and the Angels win game one 5-4. Angel fans on Twitter start printing playoff tickets. I try to recessitate my heart in time for game two.
The In Between
– The A's and Mariners have started already and the A's are on top. This might be a good time to mention that the Mariners are really bad. I have learned this over the past week rooting for them to futlity help the Angels by occasionally beating the two teams the Halos are chasing. Today will not be any different.
– In order to take my mind off things I switch around the various football games. Nothing here is very exicting so I check in on the Ryder Cup. Now, I under no circumstances ever watch golf on TV. It bores the crap out of me. But for a half hour, it was electric theatre. The US went into the day with a huge lead only to watch the Europeans storm back to tie with two matches left. All of a sudden I'm searching for parallels between this and the Angel predicament. Are the Rangers and the A's the United States team? Are the Angels the plucky Euros who just keep coming? Is Tiger Woods really this bad at the sport he once dominated? Well, the US lost and I feel bad…why do I care in the first place? Because that's what sports makes us do. Care about random events on a Sunday when we should be doing laundry.
– The A's grab the lead in the 8th with a home run and go on to win another game late. Sometimes teams just get that feeling. Sad to say it looks like the A's and O's have it and the Angels don't. I am now pounding Coca Cola and M and M's like a teenage girl who just got dumped on Prom Night. And the house is all out of lucky shirts.
Game Two — Santana vs. Holland
– The Angels jump out to a huge lead a Mark Trumbo returns from the dead with a two run homer to stake Santana to a four run lead. Something tells me this will not be enough.
– And it wasn't. Ervin Santana pitches the way he has all year, like a human rollercoaster. By the time he's done he will give up three home runs and six total runs. This is probably the last we will see of Ervin in an Angel uniform.
– Okay Mr. Napoli we get it, you don't like the Angels. Can you stop stepping on our necks now please. 6 RBI's and 2 home runs is enough. Enjoy playing for the Dodgers next year, you overpaid sack of feces.
– With the Angels down four Howie Kendrick smashes a three run homer and all of a sudden the score if 8-7 heading to the ninth. I'm now pacing my house like a wild raccoon. My family has abandoned the family room for safer ground except for the two year old who doesn't know any better. This will be his first run in with sports agony.
– Albert Pujols again is unclutch, Torii Hunter draws a walk and Mark Trumbo flys out. We are down to Kendrys Morales to save the seaon. It would be ther capper to a cinderella season for Morales to hit one out. Alas, he pops out to short. And with that the Angel's fall short 8-7
– The Angel season is still technically alive. They are three back with three to play. They need a Ranger sweep and to sweep the Mariners. Tomorrow's pitching matchup is CJ Wilson vs. Felix Hernandez. There is something tragically apt about the fate of the Angel season in the hands of CJ. He defines the season more than anyone else. At times he has been brilliant and other times a grease fire.
– I'm glad I sat through today. I experienced every emotion possible in the context of sports. I absorbed it in all its forms. I watched it unfold on TV (both HD and regular, thanks DISH one more time for your crappy service this year), I had brief interludes with Terry Smith on radio when I ran to the store when we ran out of Coke (again, bad planning on my part) and I followed all the Angel faithful on Twitter and Facebook in a communal manner not unlike being there as a collective rooting our boys on. If this is the last of my columns on the season, I'm glad it was one of such divergent emotions. I love baseball more than any other sport because for 162 days (and all the off days in between) it is the story of our lives.
– After the second game I sat in my chair and my two year old came over with his cars and started playing on the armrest. My son has a speech delay and is starting to talk in words you can actually understand. Every once and awhile he gets a look on his face like he's searching for the right word, which is a challenge since they don't come easy. He looked at me and very matter of factly said "baseball" follwoed by a pat on my arm as if to say, "it's okay Dad, next year will be our year". He gets it. That's why I love this game.