We won yesterday! My Nashville Hounds are now 3 and 11, but still only 5.5 games out of first place. While I won't be here for any championship run in August, they're still my team. These are my guys. It's like "Survivor" down here. You're constantly competing with each other to be the next winner (who gets called up to New York), yet each time somebody leaves (occasionally one of us gets cut or demoted), it's sad. We don't cry on camera, gently wiping the tears from our eyes so we don't mess our makeup. But we do feel a loss. I felt that way when Felipe Castro was called up last week, and he was only here for just under half a dozen games. I'll feel that way when I head north for good. These are my Hounds, my boys. Every one is a winner.
I sound like the host of some children's TV show. "Every one of you won today, whether you have a trophy or disgraced your family name. Good luck in life. You're going to need it."
Not sure if you sense it, but I'm a little giddy today. Not due to my performance on Wednesday. To get some good work in, I pitched both the 8th and 9th. The 8th was great. 1-2-3 inning. I needed that. The 9th, not as good. Leadoff HR and two more hits before getting out of it. 2 innings, 3 hits, 1 run. That's not good enough yet. However, the 8th is what I'll remember. I felt good and pitched well. Remember the good, forget the bad, but try to learn from it too. Complicated.
The giddiness - don't worry, I remember - was brought on by... Oh, I won't spoil it for you. But this will help you know why I'll remember the 8th more than the 9th.
I was sitting in the bullpen beginning in the 6th inning and saw somebody familiar behind home plate. I squinted and thought, "Damn, she looks familiar." Then I shook my head and tried to forget about it by spitting pistachio shells all over the place.
Just before the 8th, I was throwing warmup pitches when the familiar woman caught my eye again. I froze, just as my catcher, Einer Rosario, threw the ball back to me, hitting me square in the chest. I dropped to the ground, everyone - I mean EVERYONE - came running. But I never took my eye off the familiar woman. Because I finally realized she was my wife, Vanessa. And I was supposed to meet her before the game. Hell, I was supposed to arrange to have somebody pick her up at the airport.
Um, I forgot.
Now you know why I froze.
My chest will be fine. There's a bruise. It's sore, but only when I breathe. "Serves you right," my lovely spouse said to me after the game as I gave her a tour of the stadium (took about 3 minutes). I just smiled (without breathing). It was so great to be surprised by my wife's visit, even though it technically wasn't a surprise since she told me she was coming. I mean, she gave me all of her flight information, including arrival time. This wasn't supposed to be a surprise.
But I forgot, so, uh, SURPRISE!!
When I said, "What a fantastic surprise," to her, she wasn't sure what I was talking about for almost a full second. Then she shook her head in that You May Be 40 But You Still Need A Nanny To Look After You kind of way.
She came down because she had missed my birthday over the weekend and also wanted to see the trailer that I'm living in in the Pepsi Field parking lot. Not sure if you've seen it. Here you go:
Vanessa slept here last night. Did I mention (yes) a while back that it had two sinks? It does. And let me tell you: Two sinks in a bathroom saves a marriage.
Vanessa got to meet my protege, Rey Marcos, who is 17 but looks 16. She asked me, around 10:30 last night, if Rey was ever going to leave. I told her yes. Around 11:15, she asked me again. I understood this time and asked Rey to leave by 11:45, after Vanessa said she was going to bed. Unfortunately, my trailer only has one room.
So in order for my spousal equivalent to sleep, I had to help Rey leave through the throng of groupies outside wearing thongs.
I assume he made it home to his hotel room since I didn't get a call from his parents (who call me if they haven't heard from him in more than 5 hours) or the police.
I went to bed happy, still giddy about the surprise visit from my wife. She's flying back to Newark Airport on Sunday morning, which will give us some much needed time together and also give her a break from her stalker "friend" Connie, who is as bad as ever. More on Connie tomorrow.
But today, I'm giddy all over. It's nice to be loved, even if you can't remember that you are sometimes.