(My husband, me, and my dad. Photo taken by the gorgeous Katie O’Malley of Pens-TV who just happened to be sitting directly behind me!)
I had this post all written out in my head if the Pirates lost.
I knew exactly where I was going to go with it.
I was 100% prepared to deal with a loss and all the myriad of feelings that would come with it.
I was not 100% prepared for what actually happened last night. I was 0% prepared.
There are sloths better prepared to take the SATs than I was prepared for what happened last night.
I was an emotional wreck leading up to the game as I sat in Las Velas sucking down two margaritas.
I was an emotional basket case as we crossed the Clemente Bridge.
I was an emotional lunatic sitting down in my seat an hour before the game. I distracted myself by helping a confused couple in front of me learn how to do the Zoltan. She was putting her pinkie to her thumb and looked like she was trying to make the world’s most elaborate butterfly shadow puppet, where the butterfly is also riding a horse.
I was not prepared for how cool the blackout looked. Some predicted it would look like there was no one in the crowd. Excuse me a second while I LOL at that. It looked amazing. A sea of black with glowing faces shining out. A spot of red here and there, but they were hard to find. They looked like drops of blood on a canvas of Pirate glory.
And that, my friends, is what we call “waxing eloquent.”
I was not prepared to see Doug Drabek, my old baseball crush, find the plate again, or how hard I still swoon for that delicious, delicious man.
I was not prepared for pre-game.
I wasn’t prepared for the roar for Jay Bell, for the Parrot to literally bow down to Clint Hurdle, for Andrew holding his hand to his heart as he was introduced to a chant of “MVP MVP MVP,” or his mother’s rendition of the National Anthem (Gene Simmons who?). It was the a perfect pre-game ceremony and PNC Park was all, “That was the best ten minutes of my life. Got a cigarette?”
I sure as heck was not prepared for first pitch.
I texted Woy:
And I guarantee no one, not one single person on either team or in any seat in that ballpark or media booth was prepared for the noise. THE NOISE was the tenth man on the Pirates’ team.
This was beyond Heinz Field. I have been to plenty of Steelers games and have never once felt the need to turn down the volume on my hearing aids. Last night, I kept nudging the volume lower and lower until by the second inning, as the CuEEEEE-toeeeeee chant grew to an absolute deafening, undulating, seizure-inducing roar, both of my hearing aids were as low as they could go without being turned off, and that’s only because they don’t actually have an off switch.
YOU WILL HEAR THIS ROAR, AND YOU WILL LIKE IT, DAMN YOU.
That “Cueto” chant? I’m sure you heard it if you watched the televised broadcast, but it does not do justice to what it sounded like standing in the midst of its wave-like cacophonous din. I wasn’t exaggerating when I wrote “seizure-inducing.” It was the perfect tone to crawl inside your head, take root in your brain, and just shake it mercilessly. It was a brain earthquake. CuuuuEEEEEEEEEtoeeeeeee. CuuuuuuEEEEEEEEEEtoeeeeee. Like the Tomahawk Chop [patoooie] on steroids.
If I was ready to chuck my hearing aids over the railing because of that chant, I can’t imagine what it did to Cueto’s psyche. Well, yes I can; he dropped the ball and served a home run to Russell Martin on a silver platter with a side of cheese.
Fans, 1: Reds, 0
I spent most of the game, as they say, beside myself. Trying to keep it together and losing it anyway, whatever “it” is. Probably “my shit.”
I didn’t relax. Not once. 5-1 and I was still nervous. My brain was humming. My heart was pounding. My stomach was churning. I was shivering and sweating at the same time. The margaritas were threatening to evacuate the premises for higher ground. It was either the flu or menopause, I thought. It can’t just be nerves making me feel like I’m dying alive, right, Jaromir?
Somehow I made it to the top of the ninth without puking or fainting or texting “SECURITY” and my seat location to the number they flashed on the big screen and then when they arrived being all, “I AM NOT WELL, YOU GUYS. DO YOU HAVE ANY XANAX ON YOUR PERSON?”
It was there in the ninth that I lived and died by Jason Grilli. Each pitch had me at fever pitch. I stood up. Sat down. Put my head in my hands. Thought about barfing discreetly into my purse.
I stood up again.
And just like that … three.
I sat down.
I’m sure the place was loud, but I didn’t hear it. I didn’t even see the immediate on-field celebration where I’m sure Grilli beat Martin in the chest so hard he put a dent in him. I didn’t see, but I’m sure the outfielders did their little jump! celebration.
I was in my own world, just sitting there with my head in my hands in disbelief with a few tears falling from my eyes. Because I’m such a girl and there is SO crying in baseball, Tom Hanks.
Who died and made you king of baseball crying anyway?
There IS crying. And there’s giant flag-waving and chanting and hugging and high-fiving total strangers and there’s Cinderella stories that unfold before our very eyes.
And sometimes there’s barfing margaritas into purses.
Bring on the Cards, and let’s go, Bucs!
Especially you, Neil Walker. I’m still waiting for my prediction to come true.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go see a man about a Xanax prescription.