Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Saturday Away From The Fray

It's unusual that I get a Saturday off in the fall (or winter). It's quite the out-of-body experience to catch glimpses of afternoon college football from my own kitchen. But bouncing around for the weekend with the kids isn't such a bad Plan B.

First, the White Bluff Burger King for breakfast. Entirely their call. Breakfast and an indoor playground, and I concurred since I knew I'd get to break in my next book. It was maybe the slowest and most understaffed counter service I've ever experienced at a fast food restaurant. It was beyond frustrating but I have to admit, the food wasn't bad. And the kids ate plenty. E-Man astutely pointed out that fall began at 10:49 AM.

On to Star Bike. C-Love is dangerously close to losing the training wheels, but her legs get longer every day and she had just outgrown the old one. I carry a wrench every time we ride now as I am constantly hiking up the seat or the training wheels, so I splurged on a used Raleigh Retro Sixteen.

The staff told me she should be good for the next couple of years. The kids both got new helmets and we were on our way home. We read some books and played video games, while I made lunch and kept track of the football scores and tried to keep one eye on the Yankee game in what has become a gripping AL East pennant chase.

The Yankees were up 5-4 on Oakland in the 7th when we pulled up at the theater to meet two other families for Finding Nemo 3D.

Now I like Pixar films as much as the next dad, and this is a good one. But I'm sure Finding Nemo was far more ground-breaking in its 2003 debut than in the 3D re-release. The kids look cool in the glasses but the 3D thing doesn't do much for me.

The saving grace was that through an incredible stroke of luck, the Yankee game was still going in the bottom of the 13th when I got to the car. I heard the amazing rally from 4 runs down (fortunately ESPN Radio had it and I wasn't forced to listen to John & Suzyn) but didn't catch the triumphant 14th as we all did pizza at a friend's place.

I got home and searched for highlights and game stories. I reconstructed the late innings, extra innings, and historic comeback as best I could in my own mind and was going to renumerate it here. But there was a level of drama and tension I couldn't possibly reenact having not watched it.

What I can say is that Ichiro Suzuki is in rare air this week. In the last 5 games, he's 14-for-20 (.700), bringing his average up to .335 in 56 games in Pinstripes.

The other prong in all this drama is that the Orioles won another extra-inning game today themselves, the 16th straight such win for the math-defying O's. And if there's any wonder how great they've been playing: the Yankees have won 7 straight, and the Orioles still only trail by 1 game.

I was convinced that September baseball is more compelling than September football. But last night's results with Kansas State, Oregon State, Rutgers, and a resurgent Notre Dame scoring huge wins throw that argument back up in the air. And there's still NFL today - if you can get around your life and get situated to catch it.

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