Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Aubrey Huff Renews My Faith In Humanity

Your Party Host has had a rough couple weeks. When times are tough, it's funny how sports can make things seem better or worse in your head. You have your ups (Magglio in '06) and your downs (most Rodney non-save appearances). I'd like to illustrate a perfect example of that for you.

I took a trip to Charleston, SC twelve days ago to visit a friend living down there. In my five days down south, I was electricuted by a wall outlet, got food poisoning, almost got into a fight with kids looking for trouble, and had my car break down, thus draining my bank account at the mercy of mechanics a 13 hour drive away from home. On top of that, I was badly sunburned. How bad?

Sun screen is for hippies. Anyway, while down there, I get a phone call saying that my 5 year old, in his second week of kindergarten, while showing an uncanny ability to color within the lines and say his ABC's, has already developed into the class clown and will not listen to anyone. Where he gets this, I don't know. Most troubling to this Tiger fan is that nowhere in Charleston can I get a Tiger game on a TV. When I mentioned Rod and Mario, I was informed that Luigi was Mario's brother...not Rod. Sigh.

Through watching ESPN and waiting for their daily five second (if I'm lucky) mention of the Tigers, I learned of their winning streak. I left the dark cloud of Charleston behind, eager to get home for some Tiger goodness. Sadly, the cloud followed me home to the tune of a sweep by the lowly Royals and a couple beatings by the Blue Jays of Canada...not even a real country. Meanwhile, I had to sit through boneheaded calls by Charlie Weiss and Lovie Smith (fake punt? WTF?) causing my beloved Irish and Bears to lose football games in the last minute of each of their games. Really, Charlie? Throwing on second down? I'm done defending you. You overrated, bloated pile of horse manure. And as for my diabetic savior at QB in Chicago? I already miss Rex Grossman. Basketball, you ask? I'm a Bulls fan. Michael Jordan inducted into the Hall of Fame? He acted like an ass during his speech and ruined the moment. During all of this, Nate Robertson suffered an owie to his groin. WTF am I supposed to make fun of now, I wondered? Then, Brian Urlacher is announced as being out for the season. Shoot me in the face, please.

Needless to say, my already dour mood was sunk to an all time low with the performances of my sports teams. Not even a win by the Tigers on Sunday could drag me out of my depression. Monday afternoon, my Blue Jays fan friend calls me to see if I want to drive to Comerica with him for the game. Even though my presence would surely cause Justin Verlander's arm to explode on the mound, I agreed. Why I agreed to go, I don't know. But we went.

JV started well. Ryan Raburn led off with a homer. Then, JV had a JV meltdown letting the Jays tee off on him like he was Justin Bonine instead of Verlander. The bats disappeared once again. It started to rain late and people started heading for the exits. I had cursed my team once again.

Then Aubrey Huff pinch hit for Ramon Santiago in the ninth...and the dark cloud disappeared, despite the rain. Huff lauched a towering blast into the right field seats to tie the game. I began jumping up and down like the 6'4, 250 pound 12 year old that I am. Suddenly, there was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win. Marco Scutaro made sure of that in the 10th by forgetting how to catch a ball as Brandon Inge scampered home with the winning run.

I came home and caught most of the game's replay on FSN just to hear Rod and Mario call the Huff homer. I switched to a late night Sportscenter broadcast to watch it again. To go from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high is something that only sports can do, I think. At least for me. It sounds dumb, I guess. Watching a bunch of millionaires throw a ball of some kind around a field can affect you life? Weird, but I know I'm not alone here.

Then, the icing on the cake scrolling at the bottom of the screen during Sportscenter...

"Twins 1B Justin Morneau (back) out for season."

Maybe everything's going to be all right, afterall.

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