Last Wednesday featured a rare sporting double header in the TBA. With the O’s in town matching up against the Rays in a matinee and with the Lightning battling the Devils in game 4 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs I felt it was my duty to be there. That meant calling in sick to work. I had no problem with that. If you’re over 50 I’m sure you cringe at my work ethic. To you I say – Hey glad to have a reader!
Because I’m not a total ass I did let my teammate at work know that I would be calling in sick that day and she okayed it. As far as I was concerned my boss didn’t need to know. All she needed to know was that I had 136 hours of sick time that I would lose if I didn’t use it.
I decided to pack my trusty Paperblanks notebook in my back pocket so that I could give you loyal readers a running diary. For company Big Mike was with me for 10 hours of sporting fun. Enjoy!
7:30am – Alarm goes off. I forgot to change it last night before I went to bed. It is quickly changed to 8:30.
8:30am – Alarm goes off again. I contemplate hitting the snooze bar, but then remember I have to call in sick. I look for my phone. I can’t find it. I decide to use technology to my advantage. I stumble into my second bedroom and turn on the computer. As it boots up I go the kitchen for breakfast.
8:35am – Nothing to eat in the kitchen so back to the computer. I send a vague email to the boss stating that I won’t be in today. No details so I’m technically not lying about why I’m not there.
8:45am – I check myspace.com. Sweet Gabriele wants to be my friend! She is quickly deleted. I don’t know her and I doubt she’s a sports fan.
9:30am – The Internet has been giving me issues for the last 45 minutes so I shut it down. I tried to see if there was anything interesting in the world since last night. I guess I’ll have to watch SportsCenter.
9:45am – I realize that it’s pretty much the same SportsCenter that I watched at 2:00AM so I decide to do something productive. I find some shorts and shoes and go out for a run. I live about 2 blocks from the Pinellas Trail which is convenient when I am in a workout mood.
10:15am – I’m back from the run. Being productive sucks.
10:45am – 12:30pm – I take a shower and then proceed to watch daytime TV. Ahhh a relaxing pastime since 1994 for me.
12:30pm – Big Mike calls to say he’s on the way. I find some shorts and my Michael Restovich game worn jersey. Restovich never officially played for the Rays he only spent some time with them in Spring Training a few years ago. I guess it’s stretching the “game worn” aspect of it, but it was cheap and it is a nice looking jersey so I don’t care.
2:30pm – After a nice lunch at St Pete institution “Ferg’s Sports Bar and Grill” it’s into Tropicana Field for the game. Now this is the way to spend a day. The stadium isn’t as bad as make it out to be. It’s not the best in the league but it’s waaaaaaaay better than Olympic Stadium was.
3:08pm – The Rays music director has a sense of humor. As the players take the field he plays The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. Good song… interesting line – “Meet the new boss/ Same as the old boss”. A discreet shot at the Sternberg ownership or a coincidence?
3:12 First pitch from Scott Kazmir is ---- a ball. Hope it’s not one of those games from the young ace. The Rays are playing in front of friends and family as the saying goes. There can’t be 6,000 people here. (Note the announced crowd was over 10,000).
3:21pm – Rocco Baldelli goes yard. It was a titanic blast. Big Mike points out that the most amazing part of the blast is that it actually hit a fan.
5:08pm – Time to leave Tropicana Field and head across the bridge. It did turn out to be one of those games for Kazmir who lasted 4 innings. The Rays were losing 5-3 when we left and trust me you didn’t miss anything.
6:45pm – 10 minutes before the puck is dropped and from our vantage point in Section 320 the arena is 75% empty. Gotta love late arriving Tampa fan. During the pre-game warm ups Big Mike comments that, “They have to ride Holmer as far as they can, Ramo is a sieve”. He’s right, I think I could beat Kari Ramo tonight. Good thing he’s on the bench.
7:18pm – Brian Gionta knocks in a rebound for the first goal. It sucks the energy out of the crowd. The Devils were on a power play thanks to a phantom hooking call on Jason Ward.
7:24pm – Bedlam. Eric Perrin flips a puck past a screened Marty Brodeur to tie the game at 1.
7:39pm – Sadness. Zach Parise adds the “toe” to the tick, tack passing play by the Devils. 2-1 Devils.
8:00pm – Comment of the night courtesy of the drunk salesman from behind us. As a svelte women with low jeans, a thong and a tattoo wiggles her way down the steps he tells his buddy, “The wife moved out and she moved in…. she’s a nice girl”.
8:05-8:26pm – I seriously can’t write anything cohesive about the last two minutes. Lest just say Devil fans should stick around for the end of the game when they get to see the presentation of the pay off money to the officials. Horrible calls (including a boarding call on Brad Richards) lead to a 3-1 Devils lead.
8:27pm – St Louis gets the Bolts back to within one goal. It’s 3-2. The scoreboard pans to a sign in the crowd. “We have the real Marty!” Hope that doesn’t upset the karma in the series.
9:39pm – Sorry nothing in the last hour or so. The nerves are setting in and I don’t feel so good. The Bolts tied it up and we’re heading to overtime. Lecavalier looks shaken up as the horn sounds. It looks like he took a bad slash, of course there was no call.
10:00-ish – fukity, fuck, fuck FUCK! Sorry for the language. The Devils just won on a Scott Gomez goal off of a Corey Sarich turnover. Dang, Holmer stood on his head this game and has nothing to show for it. I have a feeling Brodeur is warming up. Not good for the Bolts.
There ya go. That’s how I spent my Wednesday. Two losses, no beer but a hamburger and a pretzel and several Pepsi’s pretty much ruined my diet.