I watched the whole game last night, and at the end of it, I was pleased. "I say, old man," I said to myself, realizing as I did so that I'd been reading P.G. Wodehouse again, "that was a diverting three hours. Time to polish off the last fourth of this fifth and totter off to bed." Obedient as ever to the instructions of my internal monologue, I did so.
I slept the innocent, dreamless sleep of a baseball fan who'd seen a fine pitching duel, a closely-contested 1-0 contest that pushed both teams to their limits. Both sides, I was sure, had walked away with their moral fiber more fibrous and with a healthy respect for their foes.
But that's drunk talk. I woke up to face several unpleasant realities: it felt as though I had been entrusted with the safe-keeping of an unusually valuable wad of cotton balls and had kept them safe from burglars in my mouth; work (damn the concept!) meant that I couldn't resort to my usual practice of staying in bed and crying meekly for Wendy's; and, worst of all, the Nationals walked in the winning run.
What kind of pitching duel ends like that? This wasn't the well-struck dinger or the crafty squeeze bunt - this was rank incompetence. There's nothing more humiliating - baseball-wise - than walking in a run.
The tightly-played, narrowly-won pitching duel is one of baseball's sweetest delights and most time-honored treasures. And the Nats screwed it up, as they screw up everything: trades, free agency, statues of legendary players, jerseys, drafting, the Dominican Republic, text messaging, giving the game situation on radio broadcasts, hitting coaching, everything.
At least I figured out a remedy, based on my 24-hour mood swing: DRINK. Drink and never let yourself sober up.