It was a gorgeous spring weekend here in New York, and my girlfriend Emily and I watched portions of all three Yankee games. She is very happy that baseball is back in our lives. As the season moves along, I will occasionally quote my sweetheart, who couldn't have cared less about the game before we started going out three years ago. Now, all on her own, and without any coercion on my part, she's a bonafide fan. What I enjoy about following the game with her is watching what she reacts to, what is important to her. Often, the final score doesn't bother her one way or the other. The worst part of a Yankee loss is how it will bother me. She doesn't get emotionally involved when they don't win. So long as are trying the best that they can, she's satisfied. Her biggest pet peeve right now is when fans stick their hands out and attempt to snatch a double down the right or left field line. "They should be thrown out for ruining the play," she opines.
Em's favorite part of the game are the first couple of innings. She gets upset in the late innings because it means the game is almost over. I've never really understood this, because I'm generally impatient during the early innings. But she explained herself to me on Saturday afternoon. "The first four innings are great. They are like the feeling you get on Friday night. The week is over and you've got the entire weekend ahead of you. Then, like the fifth and sixth innings are like Saturday, and so that's still pretty good. But when the eigth inning comes around, it's like Sunday night, and it gets tense, cause you are thinking about the week coming up."
"What about when the game goes into extra innings?"
"That's like Sunday night when you've got a test the next day...one that you didn't study for."
Emily is president, and perhaps the sole member, of the Tony Clark fan club. She told me that part of her is relieved that Clark is gone. Caring so much about how one player performs is too stressful, she says. So far, nobody has replaced him, although Ruben Sierra has been getting a lot of love. Emily tends to like slow-moving players: Posada, Matsui and Giambi rank among her favorites. But she absolutely can't resist an underdog (as you can imagine, her heart goes out to Bubba Crosby). But Sierra?
"Why do you like Ruben?" I asked her the other day.
"Because you rag on him so much."
It's true, Sierra is one of the guys I love to verbally abuse. I don't have anything against him personally, but his long, swining-from-the-heels hack is hard to resist chopping on. Also, it's the idea of Sierra--another aging veteran--that is worse than Ruben himself.
Emily had fallen asleep in the middle innings of Saturday's game. I woke her up with a yelp when Sierra's three-run dinger put the Yankees ahead. Groggily, Emily croaked, "I told you so. You've got to have faith. That hit makes up for the first three times."
Uh-huh. Right. What am I going to get out of arguing? The Yankees were winning and my girlfriend was happy. I hugged her and we laid around, the windows wide open, happy that baseball is back.