April: Baseball's Cruelest Month
Every year I get intensely excited for Opening Day. Springtime, the assured presence of my favorite sport, maybe my favorite thing in the world, on TV somewhere more or less 24/7, the return of the Phillies.
And every year, within no more than 72 hours after that first pitch is thrown, they find some way to kick me in the figurative balls.
Monday's season-opening loss was at least characteristic of the team's pattern of play over the last few years: they fell behind, came back to tie it on some huge hits, then shat the game away in the 9th with cover-your-eyes, hide-the-children caliber relief pitching to lose 11-6. Tonight, though, just felt like the sort of metaphysical screw-you one only experiences through sport. (My strongest memory ever in this line was the 2006 game the Eagles lost to a last-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad, when a waiver-bait kicker beat them with a 62-yard field goal as time expired. I swear I could almost see some ghostly hand floating behind the uprights, all fingers folded in but the middle one.) Cole Hamels, Phillies ace and hero of the internets, pitched eight innings of one-run ball; the run was a wind-blown bullshit OFJOAB ("Our Fucking Joke of a Ballpark") special homer. The Phillies offense, meanwhile, was that special combination of inept (one hit all night) and unlucky (at least three rockets hit right at defenders in the final three innings).
So the team is 0-2 with the two good pitchers having taken their turns without any wins to show for it, and The Crap due the next three games. Usually I don't make this AIS post--it is a yearly tradition--until they hit 1-6 or so, but this year I figured why wait.