Psst…it’s August. August 4, 2010, to be more precise. The bank sign says 99 degrees. I’m pretty sure it’s wrong, though, because aside from the sweat rolling down my back, it’s pretty comfortable. What? You don’t think sweat rolling down your back can be comfortable? You’ve been spending too much time inside air conditioning. Here’s a little secret: sweat is your body’s very own built in cooling mechanism. Without it, we would have died out a long time ago, like the dinosaurs and the dodo bird and common sense. Here’s another secret: if you don’t use your air conditioning all the time, hot doesn’t feel so hot. Honest.
Hot doesn’t feel so hot. It’s August 4, 2010 and the Reds are in first place. But it doesn’t feel like first place. I mean, yeah, we’ve gotten kind of arrogant and expect to win every game now and we’re filling up a baseball stadium, but the seesawing is like sun then thunderstorms then sun then thunderstorms then light drizzle then partly cloudy then night then day then a rain delay. Oh sure, it’s fun and we can write real time comments with a lot of exclamation marks every time a Reds player does something good, but the minute Caca Cordero walks someone, it feels like someone has bombed the Promised Land.
The Deadbirds are panicking. They’re only half a game out but they’re already juggling their rotation with a couple of nice round juggling balls and a few sticks that are on fire. They just trashed their not-as-potent offense for a little pitching. (I vaguely remember a certain team trashing a quarter of their offense for a little pitching a few years ago…that didn’t turn out too well.) And why are they panicking? Because they know what winning is like and we’ve forgotten and so even though it’s enjoyable and the sight of Cincinnati atop the standings and Votto atop every offensive category is orgasmic, there’s always that nagging thing in the back of our minds wondering when it’s all going to end.
I asked my Phillies phan phriend about the first year the Phillies started winning and he told me much of what I am feeling is the same as what he felt back then. The logical part of my brain knows this team, even with its holes, is good, maybe better than the Deadbirds (without Pujols, they aren’t that great.) It also knows we play the Padres in San Diego during the last week of the season and that we have another West Coast trip a couple of weeks before that. The emotional part of my brain can’t handle even the thought of the disappointment I will feel if we don’t go all the way. And disappointment is something we know a little bit about.