Well, I'm not King of Malta. It didn't even come up, and I was too shy to mention it. I felt quite the fool for packing all my ermine and most of my scepters, let me tell you. Other than that, we had a great time, and I heartily recommend Malta to anyone who's willing to endure a trans-Atlantic flight and isn't offended at being assumed to be an Englishman.
There was a downside to my trip, though. Based on the last week, it's quite clear that the Nationals rely to a great extent on my presence, just as Hulk Hogan relies on his legions of Hulkamaniacs. Consider this: when I left the States, the Nats were 7-3 and in the process of sweeping the Diamondbacks. What happens while I'm enjoying the charms of the Mediterranean and leaving my unaccustomed wedding ring in the bathroom more often than not? Disheartened by my absence, the Nationals win twice and lose five times, going from first place to fourth. Guillen and Castilla stop hitting, Guzman keeps sucking, and nobody pitches - but I don't need to tell you this; you were right here suffering through it while I was drinking cheap Maltese wine and saying "Gozo" in an hilarious Baltimore accent (try it!). Perhaps you're not convinced, but surely it's not coincidence that while I was sitting in Newark trying to convince some really snippy immigration guys to let me back in the country even though I sold my passport to a cab driver in Rabat, the Nats pounded out 11 runs and humiliated our suck-ass rivals, the Mets. Am I reading too much into the events of a week? Blame exhaustion and jet lag. Those who were already polishing Jose Guillen's MVP trophy a week into the season have no such excuse.
So I'm back, and I promise not to get married and leave the country again until the season's over, but I don't have much to say right now. I noticed while watching the game last night that Cristian Guzman not only a really crappy baseball player, he's also very pudgy for an alleged speed guy. He's certainly no stouter than I am, but my job doesn't involve legging out triples. I was glad to hear him getting booed by a very noisy RFK crowd.
I won't be participating for a while in any game chats, as had become my custom late in my bachelor days. Unfortunately, and you'll have to indulge me in a little tech-speak here, my computer done blowed up. You have options, though. Yuda.org has a new game chatter feature, and Balls, Sticks, & Stuff is bringing together Nats fans and supporters of our other suck-ass rival, the Phillies. If this works, Tom G. could well go down in history as the John Paul II of Phillies/Nats relations - no mean accomplishment.