Dig this piece of angst from Bronx Banter contributor, Hank Waddles:
A Long Week’s Journey Into Night
By Hank Waddles
I am thirty-nine years old. I have a wife and three children. I teach 8th grade English. I am a good person. But as much as I hate to admit it, my daily mood still changes based on the fortunes of the New York Yankees.
Things have been good for quite a while now, obviously. If you were to put my feelings about the Yanks on a bar graph, the past thirteen years would look a lot like the Himalayas – a few dips here and there, but mostly peaks, the tallest peaks in the world.
Sure, there were dark moments along the way – Luis González in ’01, the Boston Meltdown in ’04, every single time Kyle Farnsworth took the mound – but nothing compared to the darkness that descended on my world the night of May 7, 2009. Tampa Bay 8, New York 6.
Taken as a whole, the game couldn’t have been worse, as it kind of summed up the season so far. Every fly ball seemed to float over the wall, Mark Teixeira was booed mercilessly, and on the radio John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman were half-seriously speculating about a John Flaherty comeback.
But it wasn’t just about the stalled rallies and hanging curveballs. It was so much more.
Those October losses to the Diamondbacks and Red Sox probably seem much bigger than a Thursday night loss to the Rays in May, but this was more than just one game. The Yanks had played so poorly for so long that the five-game losing streak felt like one long, interminable game, and I had made the mistake of watching every inning. Johnny Damon was surprised after Thursday’s game to hear that they hadn’t led since Saturday afternoon, but how could that have been a surprise? The surprising thing was that there was once a time when this team could play.
Do you remember how it used to feel when you got in a fight with your girlfriend and you would go a few days without talking? Somehow you couldn’t imagine how you ever got along or how you ever would again, even how any two people could ever get along. English seemed like a foreign language, and the entire female race was a mystery. That’s how I felt about the Yankees. How could they ever get a lead? How could they ever win a game? After all, what were the odds that they could actually put two hits together in the same inning? How could the bullpen ever get anyone out? How, good lord, how?
But just as things seemed the darkest, a glimmer of hope broke through. When Johnny Damon rocked a homer to right to tie the score at six, I exulted. Surely, this would be the great victory we needed to turn the season (and my life) around. Mo would come in to hold down the fort in the top of the ninth, the Yankees would win it in the bottom half, and everyone would live happily ever after.
And then came the cruelest moment of all. Rivera– the Great Rivera!–gave up back-to-back homeruns to essentially end the game, and there was nothing left to believe in. Santa Claus was a lie, Elvis was dead, and the world was flat. I drifted into a deep depression, deeper than when González’s bloop floated over the drawn-in infield, deeper than when the Sox won four straight in October, deeper even than Kyle Farnsworth. This team would never win again.
Yes, A-Rod’s first-pitch home run on Friday night had me standing and cheering in my living room, and CC’s dominance had me thinking about the playoffs again, but winning two of three games from the lowly O’s isn’t quite enough to bring me in from the ledge.
Something has to change soon, though. I’ve got children to raise and students to teach. I can’t take much more of this.