Houston ASTROS (41-93) vs. PITTSBURGH Pirates (70-63)
September 3-5, 2012
Monday September 3 (Labor Day) – 12:35 p.m. CDT
Tuesday September 4 – 6:05 p.m. CDT
Wednesday September 5 – 6:05 p.m. CDT
Edgar GONZALEZ, RHP (0-0, —-) vs. Jeff LOCKE, LHP (0-0, 0.00)
Locke is a recent call up to the Pirates bullpen, getting his first MLB start. Gonzalez is currently in the Federal Witness Protection Program, having testified against the Sinoloa Cowboy cartel in a recent trial. The Feds figure he is as safe to remain anonymous in the Astros rotation as anywhere else.
Jordan LYLES (3-10, 5.46) vs. Wandy RODRIGUEZ (9-13, 3.86)
Wandy had a good outing against the 3rdinals last time out. Lyles is 21 and still trying to figure out how to pitch in the big leagues.
Fernando ABAD (0-2, 4.83) vs. Kevin CORREA, RHP (9-8, 4.40)
Correa is back in the Pirates rotation after Jeff Karstens went down, and he has pitched well. This is game 2 in the Abad-as-a-starter experiment … it is not necessarily a terrible idea, but it is kind of like mixing together two volatile chemicals, just to see what the reaction between them might be. You might get OxyClean or super glue, or you might blow up the laboratory.
This is not a series preview, actually; or rather, just the bare bones of one. You can find this stuff anywhere on-line, and in a better format than this. So don’t waste your time here.
Football season is here, further reducing attendance at the Astros home games, from 250 per outing to roughly 12-15 or so. The team itself has started axing TV broadcasts, under the no doubt correct assumption that the audience for those has dwindled down to the hardy few. You can only drive by gawking at train wrecks for so long, before the blood and offal start to get to you.
In other words, no one cares anymore, not this year, anyway. The only vaguely interesting thing about watching the games now is to see just how bad the Astros can be; and, if one has been a true fan of the team over the years, that is a game for suckers. And I’m not playing it anymore.
This is going to be a great Labor Day weekend. We are all moved into the new house, garden home, whatever. Also, my ex recently moved out of state, in the pursuit of happiness (I wish her well), and she left my 15-year-old back with me, presumably permanently. I smile broadly every time I think about that. The hurricane didn’t come here. And, oh yeah, I found a new thing to barbecue – thick cut “country” pork back bone, specially cut for me by the butcher at the Market Basket on Calder and 23rd. Marinate ‘em for a couple of days in a brown sugar-based rub, then put ‘em on the cooker with a trimmed brisket and 10-12 bone-in chicken thighs, throw on a handful of Zummo’s Party Time links at the end. Fucking awesome. The back bone is tender and juicy and tasty – smoky, and vaguely sweet. Goddamn, I’m fired up about that.
Finally, I really like these new Miller Lite 16 oz. aluminum bottles, the ones that come in a nine-pack. Okay, I can hear the sneers from here. Tell you what – I’ll drink the classy stuff, out of glass and with my pinkie out, when the elite crowd is around, and I am sitting in the air conditioning, discussing passionately the relative merits of Bon Iver and/or Grizzly Bear or Edward Sharpe. When I am at the beach with the ‘Stones cranked up to 11, or out in the yard (what there is of it now, I am living in a fucking garden home, fellas), barbecuing meat with the Black Angels turned up so fucking loud my new garden home neighbors are whipping out their lists of deed restrictions with one hand while dialing 9-1-1 with the other, I’ll be slamming down the Miller Lite 16 oz.-ers, thanks. My neighbors better get used to it. Love the Black Angels. And fucking awesome, those aluminum bottles.
The unusual nine-pack configuration means I have to brush off the old math skills, too; which can only be a good thing. Let’s see … I currently have 26 29 27 of those kick-ass motherfuckers iced down in the cooler on my back porch, getting nice and cold for daddy. And they should all be gone by the time this weekend finally peters out, many hours from now. Fucking awesome.
I was driving to work one day this past week, and I was pretty bummed out, more so than usual. The weather was shitty, for one thing. My neck hurt. I was pissed off about something at work, and it had been distracting/gnawing at me for a couple of days. I was a bit out of sorts, to tell the truth. That is not me, and I was really screwed up by it.
I was idly listening to the XM, the Underground Garage channel, and Andrew Loog Oldham was prattling on about something … something about “todgers”, I believe he was saying, whatever the fuck … Keith had a big todger, Jagger’s was not so big … it was annoying, and I thought, “How much more fucked up can this day get?” Then Oldham finally gets back to the music, and plays Leon Russel’s “Stranger In A Strange Land.”
“God – fucking – damn!” I looked through the windshield at the low, scudding, grey clouds moving by, remnants of the far outer reaches of Hurricane Isaac. I thought about my son, who I had just dropped off at school, being home with me again. And I thought about my girl and how lucky I was to find someone like her at this late date. Who gave me my human edge back, who made me smile and laugh and love unconditionally … who reawakened me after I had been sleepwalking through the dark for so many months. Who made me think I wanted to live in a fucking garden home, for Christ’s sake.
I thought about all that, while meanwhile this gorgeous song was booming out of my truck’s speaker system. A stranger in a strange land – it sounds quaint, but I suppose I have sort of felt like that for a long time, at least a little bit. Tell me why, the song says. I don’t know why. But listening to it, and thinking about all the things it made me think about, made me realize that I will never really understand it – not in this life, anyway.
In a way, I have always known that. What has always made me happy is just riffing on being here at all, slowing myself down and watching it all unfold, however it will. That is what makes me feel so good. I just have to remind myself sometimes.
Or be reminded. I looked up at those clouds again, and said thanks. To who or what I cannot say for sure. I have heard all the arguments against some of the things I believe in, and they are compelling on a certain level. But in my truck on the way to work the other morning, there is no way in hell you could have convinced me my gratitude was misplaced. Sometimes, you just know.
Simple things, simple things. The best things in life are free, and simple. I am disappointed that the baseball team I have followed practically all of my life is no longer one of those pleasant, simple things that make me happy. But it is all right. Thank you, anyway; for all the years that it was.
I won’t find much happiness at Crawford and Texas anymore. But there are plenty of other places still out there where I can. Thank you so much for that.