How can a poor man stand such teams and live?
“These days people want beer with their circuses, not bread.” – A contemporary South Philly descendant of the ancient Roman satirist Juvenal.
The beer flowed Wednesday night but the circus, telecast from San Francisco, was a flop. The Phillies and Giants swapped the lead and were tied for a while in a clumsy game that ended in the ninth inning when the Giants scored against Roy Oswalt. Why was the Phils’ No. 2 starting pitcher used in relief, and why hadn’t their No. 1, Roy Halladay, started the game? What was manager Charlie Manuel smoking?
This was the sort of setback I’d dreaded. The relentlessly grim unemployment figures, John Boehner’s Pledge to America, Zach Galifianakis having Mel Gibson fired from Hangover 2 — all of these horrors I’d withstood, but the thought of the Phils being eliminated in five games in the NLCS was pushing me to Kurt Cobain-level despair. I ordered Lafcadio, my longtime chef and valet, to hide my Glock 9 in a place I’d never guess.
All was not lost. On Thursday, The Phils rebounded thanks to Halladay and the relievers and some timely hits, including a ninth inning home run by Jason Werth, who looks like a cross between a movie Viking and an Appalachian meth cook. The series moved from the land of fruits and nuts back to Philly, where the stage was set for two dramatic contests that could end with another pennant for the Phils, followed by their third straight appearance in the World Series.
But there was only one more contest. Ryan Howard, the Phils’ $25 million chump, was caught looking at Strike Three in the ninth inning of Game 6 with the bases loaded and the Giants up 3-2. The circus was over and the beer went flat. I shouted, “Lafcadio, where’s my goddamn gun?” But my lackey remained mum, so I sulked for 24 hours, all the way through the Eagles game.
They lost, too. I went to the kitchen to fetch another beer and carve some beef off of last night’s roast, but Lafcadio had hidden all the sharp knives.