Last night, my Monday team, the MIRS Muckrakers, played like the Detroit Tigers.
By that I mean the Detroit Tigers of the Alan Trammell era—the Alan-as-manager era, when I just wanted to hug (and gently smack) him when he would lament, post-game, “We just had that one bad inning.”
For us, it was the first inning. We were up to bat first and promptly went down in order; I, at the #2 spot, hitting the first pitch and not, as my coach would say, using my lower half. (I’d have the same problem during at bat #2, but AB #3 was much better—to the tune of a hit that felt about 60% right.)
Then, the defense.
Mind you, we were playing Team Hooah, which is the sound you make in the Army when something is awesome (“Hooah, motherfuckers, we just killed bin Laden!”), when you’re driving a point home, when you’re happy, sad, silly, etc. It’s a much more badass version of “smurf.”
So Team Hooah is good. They’re a National Guard team, and a few years back, we had to reschedule our late-season games with them because they were deploying. As you can imagine, we didn’t need to spot them any runs. We didn’t need to give them a hand.
But we did, to the tune of NINE RUNS in the first inning.
As Alex Avila said of his own under-performing team, We are too good to play like this. (Some other day I’ll have a whole separate column on Alex, because there’s so much to love about him: his perpetual five o’clock shadow, the way he calls pitches without dugout help, how he called the perfect game and Armando didn’t shake him off, how he can be, finally, the leader the Tigers need.)
When we lost 19-9, I felt just like I felt watching the Tigers from 1989-2005, and 2007-present. We’re too good to play like this. But it’s only the first game of the season, right, and we’re all a bit rusty or nervous or whatever.
And, really, now that the news of bin Laden’s death has settled, I am feeling a little overcome with compassion for our armed forces, many of whom don’t get lazy evening ballgames or full seasons or even a cup of tea, the television and Monday night baseball on ESPN.
It kind of doesn’t feel right to bitch about my just-for-fun team booting balls and missing plays and dropping outs. (Lucky bastards. I was HOT after the game!)
I said “Thanks,” to every member of Team Hooah as they passed, because, fuck it, our one bad inning was better than any day in Baghdad or Kabul or even Ft. Sill, OK. I’ve got it pretty easy. I’m not fighting PTSD and nightmares and the horrible memories (and withdrawals of powerful adrenaline highs that can’t be replicated in normal life) of war.
I’m bitching because no one else seems to want to do what it takes to win as much as I do. Maybe I feel a little cosmically twinned with the military that way. So hey, nice game, Team Hooah. It was a privilege to have our asses kicked by men and women of honor.