I am surrounding myself with good things today.
I have the day off from work so I slept in. I made some coffee and read some of the new Karl Ove Knausgaard book. I unfocused my eyes and stared off into space as my cat curled up on my lap. I thought about nothing. I had a bowl of cereal (Special K: Fruit and Yogurt, 2 for 5 bucks at the grocery store, great deal).
Maybe later today I’ll watch some “Seinfeld” episodes on Netflix. Maybe I’ll listen to Jim Dale read me a chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
I’m not going to think about baseball until I absolutely have to. I’m not. I won’t. Or maybe just a little bit. Maybe I’ll read a couple articles. Or no—just some recaps from yesterday’s games, check in on the highlights, watch Kike Hernandez recording his 7th consecutive hit this postseason. Is that an omen? Ex-Dodger succeeds for an underdog team. What is the universe telling me? Ex-Dodger Alex Wood is taking the mound for the Giants tonight—are the stars aligning for game 3? Series split. Tied. It was never going to be easy. But home field advantage is somehow the Los Angeles Dodgers’ now? Is that fair? Is baseball fair? Ask Kevin Kiermaier. Yes and no. Lower-case baseball is fair, but upper-case Baseball is a business. Follow the money. Dodgers 267 million dollar payroll. Mookie Betts. Trevor Bauer—who is making more money now being investigated by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office than I will ever ever ever make in my lifetime. Then the Dodgers just pick-up Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to replace him! And Max, what about 2019? Where’s the gamesmanship? Where’s the creativity? Everyone just wants an easy championship...classic. So boring! I’ll take the San Francisco Giants and their 164 million payroll: the upper middle class of the sport (paupers comparatively!) against the evil wicked witch empire dynasty of the West.
Alex Wood = Luke Skywalker/Dorothy? Buster Posey = Obi-Wan Kenobi?
But I’m not thinking about baseball. I’m not thinking about tonight. I’m taking a bubble bath with Epsom salts infused with eucalyptus leaves. I’m re-watching episodes of the Great British Bake Off, repeating words like ‘ciabatta’ and ‘crisp’ and ‘flake’ and ‘morning bun’ and ‘stodgy’ and I’m not going over Alex Wood’s game splits against the Dodgers this season. I’m not re-watching Max Scherzer’s three (3) immaculate innings over his career. I’m not staring into his flat, multi-colored, dead-shark eyes. I am surrounding myself with good things. And if baseball creeps in, it will be good baseball things creeping in like splash-hit montages and Brandon Crawford smirk collages and Tim Lincecum “This is Sportscenter” commercials.
But, again, I’m not thinking about baseball today. Not until I have to…as I tell myself that there is nothing (nothing!) that can change how fantastic the 2021 season was for the San Francisco Giants—no matter what happens in the postseason. Good or bad. I will always have those summer months when the Giants defied the odds, took over the division and never let go.
I am telling myself this and I believe this, but I do not feel it. Not yet. Not today with the NLDS tied at 1 a piece and first pitch still hours away. I’ll get to that peace whether we win game 3 or lose it. Whether we sweep in LA or, oh god, get swept. Peace will come eventually. Maybe. I don’t know. The Giants came up big in game one, but the narrative changed in game two. The narrative has changed. The narrative has changed. Yes, and will likely change again. Anything is possible in the playoffs. There is nothing new under the sun. Every story has been told, only the characters have shuffled. Yes. The outcome of tonight’s game does not guarantee anything.
But right now my stomach still hurts. Nerves, anxiety, maybe I’m hungry? Maybe I’ll have cereal for lunch. I am breathing in and out. I would love some In-N-Out right now. But I’m 1,500 miles from the nearest franchise. Number 1, whole grilled onions, no tomato and a Dr Pepper. So. Far. Away.
My cat slowly blinks at me and says: Breathe.