i got us a pizza for dinner. we ate half of it a couple hours ago and put the rest in the fridge for later. i took cooper out before the game and pulled up some live rolling stones on my phone. we passed a red ford ranger, and i snapped a photo to share with the guys, figuring it might lift our spirits. <quote-01>a lot of shared memory in that truck<quote-01>. the bed lacked my truck’s matching red shell so i framed it out.
i’m gonna stick with the stones for the start of the game--earbuds in, the tv on mute. let’s go! selfies are coming through on the thread. first myself, then pat, tom, max, connie, paul, and <quote-02>hoke<quote-02>. no driveway gathering tonight, so most of the guys are in their homes. i give each photo a heart. the stones roll through tumbling dice for the upteeth-thousandth time, and it’s as good as ever. i pour myself a glass of red from the bottle i opened with the pizza. <quote-03>sarah is taking a nap between feedings<quote-03>.
betts, seager, turner, muncy, smith, bellinger, pollock, pederson, taylor; may on the mound.
top of the first:
betts flies out to shallow right, first pitch. seager strikes out swinging. turner doubles to deep left. mick sings between a rock and a hard place. tom dubs hoke’s sunset selfie a book cover shot. muncy strikes out swinging, leaving turner stranded.
next up? mixed emotions. you’re not the only one with mixed emotions / you’re not the only ship adrift on this ocean / you’re not the only one that’s feeling lonesome.
sarah comes out of the bedroom, bleary-eyed with a hungry ben, and they take their position next to me on the couch. may takes the mound. she motions to get my attention. i can hear your music, she says. it’s too loud. <quote-04>murph chirps that muncy is a goddamn liability, and grapey finally gets his selfie in<quote-04>.
bottom of the first:
acuña grounds out to seager. tom forwards a seinpeaks instagram post: a mashup of the shows’ intros, the twin peaks theme played with slap bass and vibrato synth. freeman doubles to right, past muncy. i thought murph was referring to muncy’s strike out, but now i see he meant his fielding. makes sense. freeman advances to third from a bobbled catch by smith at the plate. i check back in with the thread and find out may walks ozuna; on my tv the count is still 2-1. may walks ozuna. hard and low, murph pep-texts may. first pitch to d’arnaud is a hard, low strike. murph reassures us one run ain’t no thing. fuck, i think, giving up hope for the double-play. d’arnaud flies out to deep right; freeman tags and scores. albies ends the inning with a swing and a miss.
murph’s selfie is a finger-gun to the head. i’ve quit with the stones, and as i’ve yet to unmute the tv, it’s quiet in the house. ben is eating, and we listen to the muffled sounds of the party happening in the backyard across the way. what kind of music would you call that, i ask sarah. mexico polka? she offers. she’s off with ben to the bedroom to change him. they’ll be back shortly, and he’ll continue to feed.
top of the second:
smith grounds out on a soft dribbler to third. cooper sleeps in his bed. i’ll give him dinner in an hour or so. the thread is quiet, so i assume no action from bellinger. bellinger strikes out on a check-swing. sometimes i like alerting sarah--holy hell, he’s gonna hit it out--but i try to ignore the thread during tense situations. pollock misses high and inside at 95 for strike two then can’t hold up on a slider low and away.
six unread messages on the thread. murph posits that our team would benefit from a little dressing down. i wonder as much myself. all that silent disappointment must hang heavy in the dugout. a good fuck yourself with that at bat might relieve some of that tension. who knows?
bottom of the second:
lead off batter works a full count. may walks him. sarah hands me a shirtless ben and goes to wash her hands. may strikes out riley. the thread continues to rue the lack of a hard-ass in the dugout, assured that such an approach would whip our limp offense into shape. sarah takes ben back and massages his chest and cheeks before feeding. buehler? murph wonders. harder to take from a pitcher, he answers himself. and probably too young, i add. runner tries to steal second, but the batter fouls it off. single to left, runners at the corners. i pour myself some more wine. bloop single up the middle, run scores; runners at first and second. it’s these singles up the middle that have been killing us the last couple of games. murph offers that it feels like they could break it open here. a plane passes overhead, underscoring ben’s feeding and the mexico polka from the backyard. it’s a 2-2 count, but murph says may doesn’t have anything for it, so i imagine the bases will be loaded in a sec. still one out. instead, acuña flies out to right; runners hold. i’ll take it. another plane flies by. i switch the ceiling fan from medium to low and take another sip of wine. the 2-1 to freeman: foul ball. another sip. freddie goes down swinging. atta boy, may.
my phone alerts me i’m at twenty percent. i get up to fetch an extension cord so i can maintain my position on the couch while plugged in. i catch my eye in the mirror. i look scruffy and disheveled. i should take a shower after the game.
top of the third:
strike three called on pederson on a ball outside. what fucking garbage. just automate this shit already. taylor works it 3 and 0 then gets stike one on a ball inside, same spot as pederson, fouls off strike two, then is caught looking at strike three high in the zone. murph chirps at the ump on the thread for the lot of us. a long foul ball from betts. sarah extends her legs across the couch and onto my lap. betts is nearly hit by a pitch, then fouls one off again. full count. he check swings on strike three likeagoddmansonofabitch!!! findyourfuckinglifebetts!!!
pat posts a photo of steak, baked potatoes, mac and cheese, and asparagus; then another of himself enjoying the spread. may is out, kelly is in, and your guess here is as good as mine.
bottom of the third:
first four pitches are balls to ozuna, but the ump gives kelly the fourth one because he sucks at his job. ozuna singles up the middle--up the goddamn middle again. after losing the first three, the astros have forced a game seven. i swig the rest of the wine in my glass. the fucking astros, just unbelievable. full count to d’arnaud and he lines up the goddamn middle as well. runners at first and second, no outs. i have to pee, but i’ll wait until the end of the third or for roberts to swap kelly for take-your-pick; everyone in that bullpen has let us down in the postseason. albies is out at first; the runners advance. murph confirms with regard to the astros that if we can wilt, the rays can too. a bloop to shallow right that betts miraculously catches, but his throw home is too late to catch ozuna. i unmute the tv when i see the dodgers asking for a challenge. the replay shows an egregious jump. this one will go our way, and the thread confirms it does. i go to pee, confident the inning is over.
tom posts a let’s go dodgers with hand clap emojis. from the toilet i can hear a commercial advertising the military, a commercial advertising chevrolet, and a commercial advertising football. seager goes yard on the thread, and i hurry back to the tv.
top of the fourth:
seager goes yard and just barely, straight to center field. turner takes strike one. 1-2 atlanta, the texts are coming in fast: can’t stop won’t stop. turner flies out. muncy to the plate. i ask sarah how she’s doing. she looks rested. i’m just letting him comfort suck, she says. muncy flies out to deep center field. goddamnit, muncy. smith to the plate. andy shares an animated image of a wilting plant that i assume he rendered himself while watching the game. i caught up with him late last night. i was out with cooper, and he was on his drive back to the beach house in san clemente. he said he’d been drawing during the games to keep his emotions in check. smith strikes out swinging.
i think about pulling the pizza out but decide to wait a couple more innings. then, as if on cue with my thought, sarah asks me if i can pull her out a slice. center or side? i ask. i’ve got them on a plate in the fridge, uncovered, ready to be grabbed. myself, i’m gonna wait. side, she says. treinen is in for kelly.
bottom of the fourth:
riley flys out on 3-1. to confirm, murph, yes, a square pie. treinen strikes out markakis. on 1 and 2 pache lays off a mean slider, then fouls off a mean slider, then takes inside. i miss archie’s. pache lines out to seager. betts is smiling on his way to the dugout, still high from the play in right, i imagine. cut to commercial.
<quote-05>i really loved your entry last night, murph<quote-05>. i asked andy what it was like in the driveway when the thread went silent. it’s sometimes hard on my end when play goes south and the thread goes quiet. i long for those moments of comedic relief like the ones you described from tom and grapey. grape’s comment made me chuckle in bed as i read it. this ump’s got money on the game; we’re back in this! i could hear him say it.
top of the fifth:
belly’s up. it makes sense though, the silence. it’s appropriate. belly goes down swinging. atlanta pulls their starter, and the thread insists pollock and taylor start to pull their weight. sarah gets up to make herself a protein drink, placing ben in his stroller bassinet on the floor. murph gives an atta way, boys before my feed on the roku returns from the break. thank god, i think in anticipation. aj lines a sharp single up the middle, and for a split second, i wince at the sight of the ball hitting the gap--those goddamn singles up the middle--before remembering it’s our at bat. aj is out on a fielder’s choice, joc at first. two out, taylor is up. sarah puts some milk and some protein powder in the vitamix. little overkill for just a powder and a liquid, <quote-06>i think but don’t comment<quote-06>. no, wait a minute, she’s adding some ice. ok, fair enough. let her rip, babe. joc is out at second on a weak grounder from taylor. pathetic.
ben is awake and wiggling around. his mouth open, he circles his head back and forth, <quote-07>an unsmiling stevie wonder<quote-07>. he pushes out a noisy, liquid poop. cooper hears it, gets out of bed, and walking into the kitchen, stares back in curiosity for a moment before continuing on to get some water. <quote-08>the family<quote-08> is awake and alert. treinen holds the mound.
bottom of the fifth:
acuña, freeman, and ozuna ground, line, and fly out, respectively. now we’re talking, baby. top of the order. let’s go betts! let’s go dodgers!
wow, this is fucking exhausting, i exhale to sarah, turning away from typing. i set my phone down and rub my eyes. you know what’s fucking exhausting? she playfully fires back. she’s been nursing our child around the clock for the last five and a half weeks. i chuckle. touché. i get up to give cooper his dinner: two half-cup scoops of kibble.
top of the sixth (or sickth, if you’re the great british bake off. every time they reveal the ranking for the technical challenge it grates on my ears: sickth, like god didn’t spell it with an x. so ridiculous):
betts singles up the third base line--a long throw, too late. lgd (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap). <quote-09>i’m gonna be ready for a slice soon, i think<quote-09>, sitting back down on the couch. 1-2 to seager. a new episode of the bake off this morning was exactly what i needed <quote-10>after last night<quote-10>. betts goes, but seager fouls it back. it was chocolate week on the bake off; the technical challenge was a babka. 2-2 and seager keeps fouling them off. betts takes off on a pop fly to center, then returns to first, jogging backward. <quote-11>cooper has wolfed his dinner and is sniffing the now sleeping baby in his bassinet on the floor<quote-11>. betts steals second, no chance of a challenge. 0-2 to turner. cooper comes and sits at my side and let’s me give his head a good ruffling and his chest a good rub. it’s been raining here, so he’s less oily than usual. after last night’s devastating loss, bake-off and the morning rain felt like the end of the baseball season, like <quote-12>murph had already posted the giamatti quote<quote-12>. turner grounds up the middle, and betts is caught between second and third! <quote-13>pickle! pickle!<quote-13> after four of five throws, they get him. turner has taken second. betts in a pickle? i mean, if that ain’t the stuff right there, holy hell. pitching change. sarah is next to me reading breastfeeding forums on her phone. our pediatrician recommended we see a lactation consultant. ben’s weight percentile has dropped a bit--nothing alarming, but the pediatrician wanted to make sure he’s getting the most out of his feedings. a woman came by the place yesterday. she was wonderful, a tremendous help. i think the constant heel pricking in the postpartum unit was a little traumatic for all of us. muncy walks. lgd (clap clap clap-clap-clap). will smith will now face will smith. we almost got this matchup last night, but alas. first time two players of the same name have faced each other in the postseason, buck lets us know. so what? it’s happened in the regular season? you better give us that info if you’re gonna add that parenthetical to that stat. who the hell faced themselves in the regular season, buck? we’d like to know. 2-2 to smith, runners at first and second, two outs. ball in the dirt, full count. i get a text from jacob: boom. jacob is casey’s business partner and a longtime yankees fan. i keep the dodger thread on silent during games, but other folks, other baseball fans, do chime in on occasion. he’s gonna hit it out, i tell sarah. he does. smith takes smith long: dodgers up 4-2. i check in with the thread: 25 unread messages. max has sent a gif of actor will smith fighting himself from some movie where he plays both himself and himself. i look it up: gemini man, google let’s me know. ah, gemini--makes sense. an infield pop out from belly.
back in this shit, baby! one game at a time, one game at a time. i grab the bourbon in anticipation of a celebratory shot at the next dinger. ben, awake on sarah’s lap, lets out a couple loud farts. cooper paces from room to room, his toy squirrel in his mouth, unsure where to post-up with such a prized kill. baez takes the mound.
bottom of the sickth:
strikeout. andy has sent a pic of him and renzo, both beaming with joy. seeing renzo, i’m reminded it’s friday: <quote-14>trash truck day<quote-14>. a fly out to pollock. don’t forget, trash tomorrow, i thought to text andy after we’d hung up last night, like he’d need the reminder, but the dodger loss had the better of my mood. renzo and his trash trucks, god bless him. ben is back at the boob. buck recounts what a great outing treinen had--he did indeed. baez strikes out the third batter.
<quote-15>ok, time for a slice<quote-15>. the thread enumerates who is available for us in the bullpen, whom to go to when.
top of the seventh:
pollock down swinging. <quote-16>a very tomato-y pie<quote-16>, this one, a ton of tang. sarah says she could do with less, but i like it. joc down swinging. sarah burps ben. not a big spitter-upper, this one, which is nice. he sure likes farting though. taylor’s bat knob gets hit, and he plays it off. ball didn’t touch him, but he’s at first. atlanta challenges. too late of a reaction from taylor, says smoltz. they bring taylor back. i wonder if my dad is watching or if this is too stressful of a game for him. grandma has been with my mom’s sister this week; he’s probably reluctant to watch when it’s just him and mom. taylor doubles to left, betts to the plate. if i heard buck correctly, not a single rbi from betts this entire postseason. christ, betts, <quote-17>find your life<quote-17>. base hit to left: 5-2 dodgers. my father replies to my text: worked hard in the yard today, going to bed early, <quote-18>i’ll read about it tomorrow<quote-18>. corey homers to right center: 7-2 dodgers. the thread is blowing up. time for that whiskey-shot pic. corey for pres, i add to the fray. turner strikes out, but the damage has been done.
sarah leaves the room with ben to change him. i hear her scream from the other room. he loves to poop on her mid-change, multiple times if she’s lucky. i’m remembering now that i haven’t taken out the diaper trash. i noticed it was full early today too--that’s my bad. i’ll have to be sure to knock that out after the game. i can take it out when i take cooper out.
bottom of the seventh:
riley singles off baez. baez out. sarah comes back with ben and a reminder for me about the diaper bin. <quote-19>i’d better go deal with it now<quote-19>. cooper trails me back and forth between rooms with his squirrel. numerous pieces of cotton stuffing lay strewn about. he sure loves to destroy a toy. i return to gonzalez on the mound, two on, no outs, and a full count on pache. he grounds into a double play, then acuña flies out to betts. crisis averted. we head to the eighth.
at first we worried about all this stuffed animal destruction, worried he was ingesting all that stuffing, but he’s not ingesting all the stuffing he’s leaving strewn about on the floor. he settles in his bed and continues to disembowel his squirrel.
top of the eighth:
muncy hits a long fly ball to center, could be gone, but caught by pache. smith flies out to left. the thread is complaining about the stadium, about how these would be homers in other parks. belly out on a foul tip.
chris rock is advertising 5g. how’s the new fargo? you both watching or just you, murph? roberts decides to stay with gonzalez.
bottom of the eighth:
freeman doubles to left. taylor is down after his throw to second, not sure what happened. looks like maybe something with his ankle? turner dropped the ball at second, otherwise taylor might have had him. gonzalez is out, graterol in. sarah has taken ben to bed, hoping to get a couple hours of sleep herself. i’m going back to mute on the tv. she can’t hear it from the bedroom, what with the white-noise machines, but i’d like to enjoy the silence myself. ozuna pops out to center, freeman to third. i’ll refill sarah’s water jug for her at the break so it’ll be ready for her when she wakes up. d’arnaud grounds out, but freeman crosses the plate: 7-3 dodgers. cooper growls at the neighbors coming home across the hall then paces around the room, sniffing. albies strikes out swinging at a cool hundred up and outside. graterol leaves the mound with his signature thank-yous to on high.
three more outs and we force a game six. i look up tomorrow’s game time. 4:38? the fuck? oh, i guess astros/rays is a game seven, so they get the primetime slot. dig.
top of the ninth:
kiké singles. sarah comes through the room to brush her teeth. a couple short vocalizations from ben come from the bedroom. hopefully he’s just settling in. evidently there’s another growth spurt in the five-to-six week range, which is right where we are. pederson hits into a double play. rios is in for taylor. rios putting one in the seats makes things a whole lot more comfortable, dave offers on the thread. rios strikes out swinging.
i can hear the rain on the kitchen air-conditioning unit and the faint sounds of the white-noise coming from the bedroom. the mexico polka players have packed it in for the night. i check the app and see we’re bringing in jansen. we’re up four, but my nerves are still on edge seeing his name, what with his piss-poor outings lately. i’ll take cooper out after, then maybe try to get a shower in. <quote-20>christ, let the dodgers still be in this when i do<quote-20>. back from commercial break. jansen is the only dodger to appear in all eight postseasons with kershaw since 2013; i saw that stat the other night, and my mind was sort of blown, thinking back over all the position players who are no longer with us.
bottom of the ninth:
jansen strikes out the first two--makes ‘em look stupid. murph: oh my god it’s kenley jansen. the cutter is moving, the speed up. the fox app on the roku interrupts my viewing to ask me if i’m still watching--just unbelievable. i scramble for the remote and hit yes. it’s quiet in the apartment, the rain is falling, sarah and ben are asleep in their beds, and cooper lazes at my feet. <quote-21>jansen strikes out the side<quote-21>.
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