A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*
(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)
Of course Tek called for the high fastball. Of course he did. Heh.
I guess that's a sufficient answer to the question of why we're all so excited about this team's farm system and why we didn't want to trade Jacoby and Lester - not both, not either - for Johan Santana. Because moments like that are priceless.
I called my dad - of course I did. Though really, since his TV is about ten seconds ahead of mine, he probably should have called me and spared me the half-moment of anguish, seeing into the future as he can. We sat there on the phone, not really speaking but both watching Lester being interviewed by Heidi Watney.
"God," I said, "he looks like he's ten-years-old."
"He's got more gray hairs than you and I combined. That kid has had some kind of life," my dad replied.
He's got that right. Everyone will touch on the positively "you couldn't write something this schmaltzy for Disney and expect them to buy it" storyline of the Jon Lester Story, but personally, I think the best part is how absolutely joyful he looked immediately afterwards. Because, let's face it, the kid has been through some shit. Cliched though it may seem, he's dealt with the highest highs and the lowest lows. And it's so, so, SO wonderful to see him just flat out enjoy something like this. I mean, Eckersley is nattering on about Lester's sense of perspective (frankly, Eckersley is nattering on about a lot of things, so excited is he), but he's right. You think Jon Lester is scared of Alberto Callaspo? Bitch, please.
Also, I am only human. When Lester said that Tito told him he was proud of him and that he thinks of him as a second dad, I lost it. Just lost it. I am not made of stone, people. I can only take so much. And Tito's press conference is not helping in that matter, what with him talking about how fatherly he feels towards Lester and that he'll "sit here and brag about him all night if you want me to."
And we would be remiss if we didn't mention Jacoby. Not only his stellar catch but also his triple and the base-stealing and the run scoring which takes pressure off a starter in a whole different way. THANKS ANYWAY, MINNESOTA BUT WE'LL KEEP THESE GUYS IF THAT'S COOL.
And there is, as there always is, Jason Varitek at the heart of it all. Now with a major league record for no-hitters caught, Tek is indisputably and inarguably THE MAN.
Of course all of this lead to some frantic postgame emailing with fellow denizens of the blogging underworld.
Luna: Lookit his little camo shirt! God, he is so wiped out.
Me: If I hadn't eaten the last of my homemade banana bread for breakfast, I would march right down there this minute to give it to him.
Luna: How drunk is Josh Beckett going to get him tonight?
Me: Oh Jesus. We should really bring him some Chaser and a truckload of Gatorade, just as preventative measures.
And naturally Amy and I were emailing each other during the game but refusing to talk about it. Instead we discussed the relative sizes of baby polar bears and pandas and whether or not, if Tony Gwynn, Jr. rode around in a kangaroo pouch, the baby kangaroos would behave themselves. I realize that sounds like we're insane but really, these are pretty standard conversations between Amy and myself. Just, usually, we're not actively avoiding talking about baseball.
Jason Varitek's postgame press conference is just furthering my belief that great pitching is better than sex to that man. Can you remember the last time Tek looked so relaxed? So sprawly and, you know, just sort of hanging out? I can. It was September 1st of last year. True story. Of course, he's Tek so he's going to pretend that a laundry basket with a chest protector would have been just as effective behind home plate, but we know the truth. Because did Lester shake off Tek even once today? I don't believe he did. Lest we forget that Tek is actually one out away from having caught five no-hitters, Curtis.
But tonight is about Jon Lester and what Jon Lester managed to do. And the next week represents my favorite part of the post no-hitter circus. The coverage and the buck-passing in the credit-spreading sense. "Tek did this," "No, this was all Jonny," "No, really none of it would have been possible without Jacoby's defense," or even, "Actually, Theo had the foresight not to trade these kids." Love it. Love all of it. Congratulations, Jonny Boy. Congratulations, indeed.
*The Dave Eggers book that I'd been reading during commercial breaks was spine-up on the coffee table when the game ended and the title just seemed appropriate here.