The beers were cheap, $1 bottles of Miller Lite, but they weren't as cheap as the loss. As soon as it began, things seemed right with the world - a leadoff blast into the leftfield stands, cheering and high fives in the bar, a genuine happiness. Another run, another blast, another run, and the starter who could do no wrong in the eyes of the phans was out of the game.
We were cruising. We had Chapman. We had shots of Jaegermeister.
The television next to the one with the baseball game had been tuned to the Caps hockey game. Now it was filled with paramedics and a stretcher and what seemed like a corpse in goalie gear. The Thrashers goaltender had collapsed on the ice when no one was around him. He laid motionless, unconscious, and suddenly I forgot there was a Reds playoff game going on.
The universe was out of line again.
A blown call by the ump, a ball lost in the lights, miscue after miscue and we were sent home in misery.
Today my head aches from the cheap beer and my heart aches from the cheap loss, but my perspective is as clear as ever. It's a game, nothing more. It may give us moments of great pleasure or pain, it may give us bonding with friends and family, it may even nourish our souls when our spirits are in the midst of famine, but in the end, it is still a game with no life or death implications.
Of course, I am still overwhelmed with disappointment and desperation.