Thursday, October 4, 2012

Home Team Sports - The 2nd Retail Intermission

I’m again interrupting the epic narrative of my former retail career, to take another quick breather and address a new topic.  I’m guessing no one but Katie Ett will mind.  I’ll be back with Act III shortly.

It’s been a real weird time here in old “Charm City” for the last month or so.  The Baltimore Orioles, who haven’t been to the playoffs or even had a winning season since 1997, have been nose-deep into a playoff run. 

You all know by now that I’m Pittsburgh-born and bred, and a die-hard fan of all the Pittsburgh pro teams.  But I also fully support the Orioles.  Because the Pittsburgh Pirates are in the National League and the Orioles are in the American League, there’s no reason I can’t support both.  The two teams pose no threat to each other.  The only times I have to choose between them are the inter-league games they play every couple of years, or if they should meet in the World Series.  (The latter would be considered a sign of the apocalypse.  The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992!)

I probably see five or six Orioles games every year.  Camden Yards is a 15-minute walk from my office and 10 minutes from my subway stop.  When you have a major league ballpark that close by, it would be a shame not to take in a few games.  I usually do a post on them when I go, especially if I get some good pictures... or appear in good pictures.  As you may remember, I had a streak of about 4 straight games where I appeared in the crowd shots on TV or in news wire photos.  Forrest Bluz…

Anyway, as the baseball season rolled up to the end of the regular season, it dawned on me that I’ve never been in a city that experienced a playoff run, where I supported the home team.

I never lived in Pittsburgh for any of the Pirates, Steelers or Penguins playoff appearances.  I lived in Cleveland when the Browns went to the playoffs and I lived here in Baltimore for the Ravens frequent playoff trips, but I was always rooting feverishly against them.  [Hock-Ptooey!]  So I’ve never been able to experience the common bond that the stretch run brings to the contending town.

It’s been pretty cool.  It’s nice being on the inside for a change, as opposed to the dude on the outside, flinging poo at everyone else and desperately trying to rain on their parade.  I enjoy the occasional look of surprise from others in the office, when they see me rocking an O’s hat, or game jersey on Jersey Day.  I hope that it at least demonstrates to them that I’m not just being a contrary bastard when I wish ill on the Ravens. 

See?  I like the orange birds… just not the Ratbirds.”

I mentioned during my last “retail story intermission” post how I was able to buy some playoff tickets in case they make it to the American League Divisional Series (aka the ALDS.)  What can I say?  I was caught up in the playoff fever.  Between Sitcom Kelly and her sister buying tickets for a Wild Card game and a prospective Game 5 of the ALDS, and me buying tickets for ALDS games 1 and 2, I felt confident that I’d get to see my first baseball playoff game.  The only way I get frozen out would be if the Orioles earn the 2nd Wild Card seed, have to play “away,” and then lose.

It must have been the playoff euphoria and the intoxicating group ethos that led me to ignore Bluz’s Mojo Axiom #1, which states: Thou shalt not count thy chickens before they hatch.  Seriously, I knew better, but I couldn’t help but talk about attending the playoff games and heck, even make arrangements regarding who to take with me.

Early this week, the Orioles were tied with the Yankees for the division lead, and were a game ahead of the A’s for the Wild Card, and if they won the division, they’d be positioned to play the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS.  Remember my buddy Rik, aka The Chairman of Fuck Off, aka Detroit Tiger Fan #1?  We got on the phone and made plans for him to come out and watch the games with me, and perhaps even insult Boog Powell again.
“Screw you, and screw your BBQ too.  Bud Lite rules!”

I think that was the last straw.  Immediately after I got off the phone with Rik, the O’s promptly lost to Tampa and both the Yankees and A’s won.  That made it extremely unlikely that the Orioles would win the division, because the Yanks were playing the now-toothless Red Sox.  So both the Yankees and A’s won their last 2 games, while the Orioles took only one out of two.  All the O’s needed to do was win last night’s game and the Wild Card game would be here.  But no such luck.  The Karmic reprisal was severe.

As I feared, the Orioles will play the Texas Rangers in the Wild Card game Friday night.  If they win, they play the Yankees here on Sunday and Monday.  If they lose, their season is over.  One game and done.

I probably ought to stop writing about it before it’s too late.

But if they do make it in, Sunday is going to be pretty stressful.  They haven’t announced what time the game will be, probably because Baltimore and Arlington TX (one of which will host the first game) are in different time zones.  I’m figuring, because the Yankees are playing, the game will be on during prime time, which I’m counting on.  I’d hate to have to choose between going to the playoff game and watching the Steelers game at 1:00.

It would get REEEEALLY interesting if the Steeler game isn’t on TV (for which I don’t have definitive confirmation yet) and the O’s play the late game.  That would mean I’d have to go to the sports bar to see the Steelers, get all liquored up, then roll on down to Camden Yards (on the subway) for the baseball game.  It could be quite a marathon.  I’d also have to do a quick change in the car, to shed my Steelers game jersey mojo, put on my Orioles gear in the parking lot and hope I don’t get arrested.

Seriously, officer… I gotta support the team!


Anonymous said...

Puddy! Hell yeah! They still show that clip at Devils games, when they're not locked out of course. Who knew that baseball would be the model of everlasting labor peace? I guess the trade-off for not having a work stoppage is not having a salary cap. Donald Fehr!! ::shakes fist in the air::

I think I might have to root for Texas in the WC playoff because I can't see the O's beating NY. Stopping the Yanks from "winning" a 28th title is all I have left. God, I am so ashamed to be a Red Sox fan right now... they had a chance to deny NY their 4,000th division title and they shit the bed. Un-freaking-believable. Though I must say the comment from Buck Showalter about hoping the Sox do them a favor made me chuckle, since they spoiled our playoff hopes at the end of last season. Andinooo!! ::shakes fist in the air::

If TX wins they'd better beat the Yanks and win the effing WS this time, or they'll be the Buffalo Bills of baseball. If the O's win I'll expect a good blog post or two about your game(s)... and they'd better hope Cal Ripken comes out of retirement. Or Jim Palmer. I met him a few years ago, and I don't know how old he is but the man looks like he could strike out A-Rod right now.

Speaking of blog posts, I have been enjoying your retail stories and if you didn't get any comments about them from me it was because the wi-fi on the train went in and out while I was reading blogs and my internet connection froze just as I hit 'publish' to comment on yours. Amtrak!! ::shakes fist in the air::
Maybe it got through, maybe not. Reagrdless, keep sharing those stories and I'll do my best to comment on them!

Valerie said...

As fun as it may be to be on the winning team, it is also fun to fling poo. It's a Catch 22. I say we start flinging poo at happy times and make it a positive thing. Or maybe it's just me.



Facie said...

Wait, you would really have to choose between watching the Steelers or going to a playoff game?! Man, what it must be like to have that kind of dilemma. My memories of the Pirates being in the playoffs continue to fade...

Anyway, good luck to your orange birds!

Mary Ann said...

I always knew Baltimore is for the Birds. (not original but necessary). Orioles are beautiful, feathered or suited.
Now, if you get busted changing clothes, don't come crying to me.
(There's no crying in MoJO.)

Anonymous said...

So it's YOUR fault. I knew someone did some sort of non-wood knocking jinxing to cause this. The hubs was actually able to score tix for both the Thursday night game (O's v Yanks playoff for AL East) AND Friday night for wildcard playoff game. But noooooooo. Someone (ahem) had to go and screw it up!! I'm looking right at you Bluhz. :p

We do have tix for Sunday's game as well, and I am also hoping it's a night game. I really want my son to get to experience the playoff buzz. So many fingers and toes crossed. Don't go saying anything about it, ya hear??? Go O's!!

Unapologetically Mundane said...

Ohhhh, suddenly eeeeeeveryone's back to comment. Mmm-hmm.

Wait, so, you pre-buy tickets for a game that might not happen? Do they just refund everyone if the Os don't make it?

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, Yankees! (j/k, j/k, but I do want a parade.)

Anonymous said...

I'm officially cheering for a Washington/Baltimore World Series. If not that, then Oakland... small market, small payroll, big success... the anti-Pirates.

bluzdude said...

I loved that Seinfeld episode, and that’s become my go-to answer whenever anyone asks about all my mojo gyrations… “Gotta support the team…” Like today, which is Jersey Day at work. I’ve got my Lamarr Woodley Steelers jersey on over an Orioles t-shirt. I also wore an O’s ballcap. I’m trying to cover all bases.

I was thinking about reaching out to you to send some juice over to your Sox, for a little help in taking out the Yankees, but then I realized that if you really did have any influence, they wouldn’t be in the tank like they are this year. #Disarray the Rays certainly weren’t phoning it in those last 3 games.

If they O’s get into the ALDS, I guarantee you’ll be able to read about my experience down at The Yard. But I’m really, really worried about the Wild Card game tonight. The O’s have lost their last 5 of 6 in Arlington. We’re pitching a guy we just picked up from the D-backs, who’s 0-6 lifetime in Texas and he’s up against a 16 game winner. They are definitely going to need some Orioles Magic.

Thanks for trying on the retail comments… I think I saw one or two from you on the early posts, but no one but Mundane has commented on the last 2, leading me to believe the story arc is running out of steam. I’ll definitely finish though. There’s still some quality material to share.

bluzdude said...

I agree… I have been having fun as a poo-flinger. But 15 years of it makes for an awful lot of poo.

bluzdude said...

No, it wouldn’t be a hard choice… you have to take a playoff game when it comes. And I did confirm that the game will be televised here, so if the O’s do make it in, and it is an afternoon game, I can DVR the Steeler game. Win/win.

I’m fortunate that I can still remember 2 Pirates championships, the latter of which was won the same year as a Steelers Super Bowl. We lived in Ohio, and boy, were we ever insufferable to be around that year… lol…

I just missed being around for the Pirates 1960 World Series, but my parents were there. Dad had a pair of tickets to games 6 and 7. (they cost 2.50 each, if you can believe that)

bluzdude said...

Well, I just had my birthday… I should be allowed out in my birthday suit…

bluzdude said...

If the O’s make the ALDS, I’ll be up in Section 212 Sunday night, adding a little hot pepper to the upper crust in the Club Section. Text me… I can wave to you from my balcony.
How soon before you can buy your son his first Ballpark Brewski? Those are the best!

bluzdude said...

Yes, the started selling the tickets a week or so ago. They want the tickets in-hand, so there’s no scramble to get them out. There wouldn’t be enough time to take orders, print, distribute, etc., if they waited until the teams/times/places were known.

And yes, they will credit our credit cards if the games don’t take place… at least for those of us that bought them online as non-season ticket holders. I believe that season ticket holders got the first shot at tickets, and for them if the game doesn’t happen, the team holds the money and applies it to the next season’s tickets.

Lastly, thank you for being there for me, through the dark times, when everyone else was too busy, uninterested, or fighting with their wi-fi service.

bluzdude said...

I agree. I’m for the small market teams, or anyone that hasn’t seen playoff success in a while. And, anyone that’s not the Yankees. If the O’s don’t make it, let’s go A’s.