Grand Cards: Finding Joy: A Saga

Friday, October 7, 2011

Finding Joy: A Saga

Let's go for a ride.

I've been traveling a lot for work lately--something that has taken me to all corners of the country, typically on a series of very fast 1-day trips that are cobbled together on very short notice.  Deadlines being what they are, I often need to book flights at the last minute to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, there are casualties.

Each of the Tigers vs. Yankees games in the ALDS started at 8:37.  Every one of them.  Even when they were "TBA" you just knew that they were going to be prime time.  I mean, Yankees, right?  Prime Time.  So, when I had to book a flight for yesterday and saw that my only option would leave me in the torturous isolation of the skies from 7:55 to 9:45 I was less than pleased.  But hey, 8:37, plus a few minutes for opening pomp and circumstance, means that I'll miss an hour of the game.  But that's like, a couple innings.  I'll survive, I guess.

But then that "TBA" became 8:00pm.  Shit.  By 9:45 this game could be almost over, and I would be stuck on a freaking plane, waiting for a line of the world's slowest people to pull their bags out of the overhead compartment, while a subset of them transform into the world's most polite people, letting everyone in the world cut in front of them as they patiently wait to get off the plane.  Meanwhile, I'll contemplate pushing the guy in front of me to the ground, starting a domino effect that will allow me to run on the backs of my fellow passengers to the front of the line.  I was certain this would happen.

Just as I was certain that once I got off the plane, the airport would effectively be closed, sports bars and all, and I would get to the rental car counter and some family of four that has never rented a car in history would be poring over the minutiae of adding supplemental insurance or debating the merits of pre-paying their gas tank, while I quietly die inside as the game winds down.

There was no way that I was going to see this game.  I was sure of it.

You might have picked up on my mounting tension if you were following me on Twitter:

I would pay a thousand dollars for Inflight internet on this next flight, but ,alas. Commence nervous wreckage. Go Tigers

Go little airplane, fly as fast as you can!

Let's go. Get on the fucking plane and close the cabin door. Baseball waits for no man or airplane. Come on!!
16 hours ago via Twitter for Android
Yeah.  My tiny plane was full of a bunch of lolligaggers.  My greatest fears were being realized.  The game was going to start and I wasn't even off the ground yet.  2 hours of radio silence followed.

As soon as I landed it the phone jumped out of my pocket.  Note to future self: Twitter is not a good tool for catching up on what has happened over a 2 hour span.

Just landed chaos trying to figure out the game while simultaneously looking for the nearest sports bar to park myself the rest of the night
15 hours ago via Twitter for Android
Guy in the row in front of me said that it was 2-0.  Bless your soul good sir.  As ESPN's mobile site loaded I saw this:

Jorge Posada singles on a line drive to center fielder Austin Jackson. Alex Rodriguez to 3rd. Nick Swisher to 2nd.
  • Pitcher D. Fister
  • BatterJ. Posada

183ChangeupCalled Strike
2 92Fastball (Two-seam)Foul
3    90Fastball (Four-seam)Foul
478CurveballBall In Dirt
691Fastball (Four-seam)In play, no out
Sweet Jesus.  Bases loaded and one out.  This is not the type of situation to follow on a freaking phone.

But follow it I did.  Fister prevailed, the aisles started to clear and it was time for a mad dash to the rental car.  Curveball--the rental car required a shuttle.

Following the game on your phone on a rental car shuttle is the worst thing I have ever experienced. Just want to scream WHAT'S HAPPENING
14 hours ago via Twitter for Android
Shuttle starts to slow, and I grab my bags and take off for the counter.  No need!  This airport lets me go straight to my car (National FTW!).  While on the shuttle I googled the local ESPN radio station.  I threw my bags in the back seat and almost broke the radio dial:

14 hours ago via Twitter for Android
 That "AAHHHHH..." is of the sweet release variety.  I just sat there for a minute and listened to VMart's RBI single.  I started driving before Cano hit his home run.  At some point, while navigating my way away from the airport I just screamed WOOOOOOOO!!!!! at the top of my lungs. 

And so, it would seem, the saga was over.  I had radio, it was like the 6th inning or thereabouts and I knew that I could listen to the rest of the game.  The thing is, I really wanted to see the game.  Also, I hadn't had any food for hours.  Commence the internal debate.  Hotel?  Sports Bar?  What happens now?

I had decided.  I'm just going to grab some horrible fast food and eat it in my hotel room I DON'T EVEN CARE.

But there was no fast food near the hotel, and just as I pulled into the parking lot I made a U-Turn and went back to a Chili's I saw along the way.  The hotel can wait.  I'm spending the rest of the night at the sports bar:

Finally in front of a tv (chilis!) Just in time to see that NASTY pitch.
14 hours ago via Twitter for Android

That was Scherzer being awesome, by the way.

As I ate some discount nachos and beer I noticed between innings that the place was starting to clear out.  At 10:55 I was the last person there, and the bartender asked if I wanted another beer.  Do you guys close at 11?  was my response. 


"Sure, I'll take another."  It's a dick move.  I know.  Ordering another beer with 5 minutes to close when I'm the last person in the joint is not a cool thing to do.  But if it could give me another half hour it would be worth it.  Again, I DON'T EVEN CARE.  There are more important things than etiquette.  You can mop around me.  I'll leave a good tip.

Well, it bought me some time, but not quite enough.

Chilis has closed. I'm about to get kicked out. NOT NOW
13 hours ago via Twitter for Android
That was in the top of the 8th ~11:18pm

I could hold out for this half inning, and as soon as Inge grounded out I downed what was left of my beer, flew out the bar, jumped in the car and drove at a ridiculous high speed the 1000 ft. (seriously, it was two buildings away) back to the hotel.

Somehow, in that 25 seconds I was forced to make a decision: Listen to the rest of the game in the hotel parking lot, or check in and get to the room but risk missing something.  Executive decision said Hotel.  Go.

Literally just sprinted to room. Asked what channel tbs was at the front desk.
13 hours ago via Twitter for Android
Bottom of the 8th, 1 out.

And the rest, they say, is history.  Pure Joy.  Yelling and screaming at the TV.  Hotel neighbors who probably thought about calling the front desk a few times, and maybe the police a few others.

What a game.  What a series.  What a team.  And then this:

12 hours ago via web


Go Tigers.