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If I don’t survive the night, I love you all

Sep 28, 2011, 5:32 PM EST

Braves starting pitcher Lowe raises his glove over his face after a run scored in the third inning by Phillies Oswalt in Atlanta

I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m totally freaked out. I’d be way better off if the Braves were already eliminated. As anyone who has suffered profound grief can attest, the shock, denial, anger and bargaining stages are harder to get through than the depression and acceptance part.  Or not. I don’t know. I’m just trying to grasp on to anything here.

OK, I’m overplaying that. In all honesty, this is about as wonderful as baseball gets. Partially because there’s the possibility for the horrible. If you’re a Red Sox, Rays, Braves or Cardinals fan tonight, your stomach should be doing flip flops. It’s good for the soul in some strange way.  Unless your happiness is way too closely tied to your favorite team’s performance you should appreciate that the all-or-nothing aspects to this make it thrilling.

Sure, I want my team to win and I want the Cardinals to lose.  But I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t a part of me that wants a game 163.  And that, even if it kills another part of me, I think the Cardinals winning the wild card would be a good thing because it will be a neat happening to consider.

OK, maybe not a good thing, but certainly an interesting thing, and interesting things make life better.  Interesting things are of just as much if not more value to a person than some vicarious triumph of someone we consider to be part of our tribe. I mean, the Braves don’t know who I am and don’t care about my happiness beyond how that translates into support they can quantify.  Fandom is almost always one-sided. If we as fans value the interesting as much as we value the rah-rah stuff at least we’re being repaid somehow.

Not that I will abandon the rah-rah.  I imagine — if my stomach allows me to anyway — I’ll be on Twitter tonight cracking wise and scared and happy and angry depending on what the Phillies hitters are doing to poor Tim Hudson.  I’ll say something like “Yay! Go team!” if the Braves win and something like “Oh drat” if they lose. But then I’ll wake up tomorrow and know that we have the playoffs and the offseason and the spring and then another summer ahead of us when everything is reset and begins anew.  And then I’ll realize, nothing truly permanent was lost, even in defeat.

But seriously: screw the Cardinals. I hope they get no-hit by Brett Myers tonight and that Tony La Russa pulls a muscle during his 19th pitching change.

  1. foreverchipper10 - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    I am with you Craig. Trust me. If this game is not on at the bar I attend tonight (I am in a pool league that shoots on Wednesdays) I will threaten the bars sheer existence. I may not make it through the night either but at least I know I will be surrounded by a sea of alcohol to help me cope/celebrate/cry/any other emotion possible tonight.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:39 PM

      Where’s the bar… I’ll send the ambulance now.

      • cur68 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:42 AM

        I’m sorry man. That was a heart breaker. So, a new handle for you, eh? Hell, why stop there? How does a whole new TEAM sound to you? I’ve got one in mind; Msr. Brett “Le chasseur de castors” Lawrie. Has a certain ring to it, non? A certain je ne c’est quois… panache perhaps? Non? OUI!

  2. The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    LaRussa’s 12th pinchhitter, in his 8th double switch, batting for this 15th pitcher, will have the winning hit to put the Cardinals in the playoffs. After that, everyone will be a believer in unlimited rosters.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      After this season, John Feinstein will write “The LaRussa Rules”. It will be mandatory reading for all mangers not named Ozzie or Joe.

      • sportsdrenched.com - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        Already done:

        Buzz Bissingers book “3 Nights in August”

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:50 PM

        Damn, that’s sitting on my bookshelf, and I forgot all about it. 2 thumbs down to me.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    “But seriously: screw the Cardinals. I hope they get no-hit by Brett Myers tonight and that Tony La Russa pulls a muscle during his 19th pitching change.”

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! There you are, Craig. That’s the spirit! WOOOO!

    Foes get murked. – fiddy cent

  4. yankeesfanlen - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    By comparison, my needs are simple- Yanks win, Boston loses, they fight it out tomorrow while we rest.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      Let’s see what this Betances kid can do.

  5. Mark Armour - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    The odds of us both surviving the evening are pretty low, so I feel the need to say: I love you too.

  6. Bill - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    I am going to have to get so drunk for this. So, so drunk.

    I take comfort, though, in the opening monologue from “Doubt,” as performed by Art Howe: Doubt and despair can be a force of unification, binding us to each other in our pain.

  7. scareduck - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Saw the Angels get eliminated, appropriately enough, with Vernon Wells making the last out. They say it’s better to be playing meaningful games at #160 than at #100, but I’m not so sure. A front office that can cast out a Mike Napoli in favor of a useless Vernon Wells — who is, by the way, playing very close to his road numbers from 2010 — is a front office that cannot properly judge baseball talent, and should not be in that business.

  8. bloodysock - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    They’ve already hidden the knives and the car keys so I can’t drive to the bridge.

  9. sdelmonte - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    I feel your pain. Might be the only thing at the moment that unites Mets and Braves fans. Besides not liking the Phils.

  10. jimbo1949 - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Hey Craig, you act like this is a matter of life or death when we all know it’s more important than that. :-o

  11. karaterobot - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    The wild card ridiculousness makes for awesome baseball. Also, my Twins fight tonight to avoid being the second team with a $100m+ payroll to lose 100 games in a season. Go Twins. Either way, I’m drinkin’.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM

      Go Royals. :-)!

  12. jamie54 - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    OK, I’ll say a prayer for you. Oh, wait, you don’t believe in that, but hey regardless anything to keep Larussa out of the playoffs so that the announcers won’t fawn all over him and speculate as to his future in Chicago would be a good thing. In reality, could care less, but lesser of two evils is Braves getting in.

  13. Old Gator - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Craig, have you left a note with instructions as to whom should take over your blog in the unfortunate eventuality that you are unable to make it back from the ectoplasmic state?

  14. dmccarrie - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    A MLB Passion Play

    Playing the past of Ruben Amaro, Ricardo Montalban: “I’ve done far worse than kill you, Atlanta. I’ve hurt you…..And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me in the late 90′s and early 00′s, as you left the NL East …marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead dead playoffless existence… buried alive! Buried alive…!”

    Playing the Part of John Schuerholz, William Shatner:’RUUUUUUUUUUBBBBBBBEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNN………”

    ***END SCENE (and the Barves Season)***

  15. natstowngreg - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Got dizzy trying to comprehend your effort to rationalize your way out of your freaked-outness. Then, at the very end, the truth came out.

    Good. Be freaked out for a night (or two, if necessary).

  16. bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Craig, personally it doesn’t matter to me who wins or loses the NL Wildcard. But being a Red Sox fan who has been down this road b4, I know there will be some folks who FAIL in the moment after a loss.

    In that vain, let me make you aware of the bridge jumping that I’ll potentially be leading after the game tonight. You are more than welcome to join in our fraternal order.

    OK, I’m not entirely serious. No one should jump off a bridge if their team loses. But I will understand if you considered it – rather than the endless taunts for at least the ensuing 365 days.

  17. cur68 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    As a spectator in the AL BEast, it matters not to me who wins, who loses. I hate them all equally. And fans of other teams. I hate you all the same amount as well. I shall be at a bar this evening, celebrating my hate as I watch, with vitriol burning its way through my belly, the vultures come to feast on the bloated carcasses of whomever falls tonight. If none fall, then i shall drink to that, and watch hairs fall from the heads of my fellow AL BEast fans, both Sox & Rays, whom I hate as much as I hate any non-beaver loving baseball fan, as they suffer yet another day of agony.

    As for the Braves & Cardinals? Well what of that? This is what you get for letting the pitcher pick up a bat and act like a big boy; madness. Anarchy. You get what you deserve till you switch to the DH and embrace the goodness of cake and stand your ketchup upside down in the fridge. Let the Braves fall, I say! Meh, the bloated carcass of the Jones’ is as good as any other & it tastes of raccoon, ‘specially ’round the upper hock.

    I look forward to more LaRussa; he’s made the regular season enjoyable as he navigated the turbulent waters of the DL, Phat Al’s contract issues, player discontent, shingles, cheerleading daughters, and mastering the art of the double switch; this while lugging the sack of useless lard that is Octavio Dotel for over a month. More of the same in the post season, Tony! It brings out the flavor in my morning ATH, puts a sweaty sheen on Craig’s head and a healthy pinkness to Tiffany’s tanned cheeks. That and it irritates so, certain of the commenters to heights of linguistic scath heretofore unseen this season, not to mention our blogger in chief.

    The last regular season games are to be played, my friends, so let them be played with passion and emotion of all kinds and from all sorts. You may choose love, but I, I my friends, I chose hate. Darkest hate.

    I hate that its nearly over for another season. Now I’m going for a drink and I shall endeavor to not let the door hit my narrow black ass on the way out. Cheers.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:22 PM

      Cur, we would get along to well I think. Even though you are twisted on the whole cake thing and must tour for the madness known as TLR. Tonight I choose go hate you back. You my friend you suck worse than the suckiest fruitcake known to man. May a beaver gnaw your log until you cry tonight. ;-)

      • Jonny 5 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        Tour = root. Damn talk go text android app.

      • cur68 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:27 AM

        My log is of steel and beaver bow before it as to a god.

  18. Jonny 5 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    I can’t help but to think of how Derek Lowe feels, that’s gotta be tough. Then there’s Bourne who was a phillie before and gets to see Pence go from 100 game loser to 100 game winner, then watch him hit a bomb over his head. He was visibly upset last night.

    Craig, you say you love us now, but tomorrow you won’t call our coyote ugly butts will you? So typical… btw I dislike TLR, just enough to actually root for your Braves tonight vs. my Phills. Yes it makes me feel dirty and goes against every fiber of my being, but that’s life. Good luck Bravos, don’t expect the phillies to lay down.

    • Jonny 5 - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      And that poor kimbrel. I think he may be a bit over used. Sucks he wasted his arm throwing to first base 20 times. Seriously though…. That was kind of silly.

  19. kcq101 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    I really, really would love to see a game 163. The playoffs start tonight, for all intents and purposes.

    As a Phil’s fan, I want to see a great game from both teams.

    Though not as meaningful, the Phils are playing to break their franchise record. Blanton is getting his biggest start of the year. And the Phil’s ~fully stocked line-up should seemingly relish the moment to play good baseball, considering the significance. It’s the Phil’s bullpen players whom will likely play that will give the Braves the upperhand in the end, all else being equal.

    That being said, with Hudson on the mound in a do-or-die-or-do-over-tomorrow situation, the Braves have everything in place to come out tonight guns-a-blazing. I hope they give it a go.

    To October…

  20. joebuckiscreepy - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    tl;dr

  21. dannomac21 - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    as a mlb fan, there would be nothing cooler than for the nlcs to be brewers/cardinals.

    as a brewer fan, i hope like hell the cardinals dont get in.

    i hope the cards lose fast so larussa can watch miller park light crew adjust the lights accordingly enough for braun to go 4-4.

  22. bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    I’m not superstitious (unless there is a chalk line in my path, or a trip to the playoffs on the line – in those cases I full subscribe to Karma).

    So FU Dan Shaugnessy!

    As the Rays were loading the bases, NESN Eye Candy Specialist, Heidi Watney, was hosting some fill-time for the rain delay and Shamelessly was the guest. Watney – to her credit – pointed out the Rays had loaded the bases with no outs in the 8th, when Shamelessly emphatically states “one thing we have eliminated is that the Red Sox season won’t end tonight if the Orioles come back and win this game,” and followed that up with “don’t worry, the Rays aren’t coming back from a 7-0 deficit with only an inning and a half to go”.

    Minutes later it’s 7-6 with Damon At Bat with a runner in scoring position. Damon popped out, but 7-6 with the season potentially on the line heading into the bottom of the ninth is a whole lot different then 7-0 heading into the ninth with the season on the line.

    Shamelessly made both statements with a sh*t-eating grin that says everything we need to know about the guy – no matter what he says (and ultimately happens between the Rays and Red Sox) he’ll have a great column to write to tomorrow.

    • bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:43 PM

      Rays/Yankess – 9th Inning – 1 OUT

      • bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:44 PM

        Rays/Yankees – Bottom 9 – Kotchman: 5-3, 2 OUT

        Tarp is coming off the field in Baltimore.

      • bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        Rays/Yankees – 9th Inning: Dan Johnson Pinch Hits for Sam Fuld: HOME RUN

        &%$#
        @#$%
        *&#@

        Game tied at 7-7 and SCOTT FRIGGIN PROCTOR ENTERING THE GAME

        Joe Maddon is a stud.

    • bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      Aceves has put 2 guys by plunking them (perhaps a tad fatigued?) and Robert “Sox-Killer” Andino is at the plate.

  23. bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Rays/Yankees – Bottom 9th: Sean Rodriquez – SINGLE, 2 OUT

    Proctor is in this for the long haul. The Yankees have emptied their bullpen.

    • bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 10:55 PM

      Rays/Yankees – Bottom 9th: Desmond Jennings – 1-4-3, 3 OUT

      Extra Innings in Tampa.

      Proctor does not inspire a lot of confidence. I am being forced to root for the Yankees. I hate the Red Sox for this.

      Yanks need to get this done quick – the odds that the Rays win this game now increases with every pitch Proctor throws.

  24. bigleagues - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Yanks have 2 on with 2 out in the Top of the 10th against, of all people, Kyle Farnsworth. Romine is up.

  25. bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Papelbon is done in Boston.

    And they’ll likely have to find a way to get Crawford out of town as well with two balls this week that he should have caught. One buried them in a game and the other ended their season.

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