One year ago today, the Twins were in New York to face the hated Yankees in game one of the American League Division Championship.
All day long, I was a twitching, festering nerve ending, jonesing on adrenaline and totally useless in terms of work. Finally, around 5:30, I went to the Bulldog Bar and Grill in Minneapolis, to meet up with Batgirl and a gang of other "Batlings" to watch the game.
The Demigoddesses were with me. The guy I had been dating was not, because that guy was not interested in watching baseball, with me or with anyone else, and I had plans to break up with him very soon for that very reason (and a few others, which I can’t seem to remember at the moment).
After a while, a very tall guy arrived. He had a shaggy beard and hair that needed cutting. And he was limping along on a walking cast, which combined with an overall droopiness to give the impression that this guy had dragged the weight of the world into the Bulldog with him. Batgirl, who was obviously pleased to see him, got up from her seat to give him a hug. Then she introduced him to me. I said hi. He said hi. We shook hands. Everyone sat back down. And then, the game began.
The following is Batgirl’s own post-game recap of what happened in New York that night:
“There was no peace tonight. There were leadoff base hits and there was Hideki Matsui and every time you looked Gary Sheffield was coming up to bat, and I mean, is that fair? Is that really fair? Every inning, there were Yankees on base, and they're not supposed to be on base, I mean, what are they doing on base? GET OFF THE BASES! I mean, no, no, not like that. Not like a homer or something, that would be really bad and I know you could hit a homer at any moment, which is why I currently have my hands pressed over my eyes, because if you did hit a homer, I would be very sad. I don't want to be sad, I want to be happy. I want to dance around and sing and watch Jacque Jones hit a homerun.
Oh, how beautiful that was. Jones wasn't even supposed to start today, they were going to start Kubel, which seemed to be a fine idea because Jones + Mussina usually equals Jones on bench. Hello, bench, my old friend. I've come to sit on you again. Because a fastball softly si-nking, has left my eyes rapidly bli-nking; And the whiffing that echoes in my brain still remains. With the sound of strikeouts…
But, oh, Jones took that Moose pitch and rode it all the way to the leftfield porch, and then he danced and sang all around the basepaths while Batgirl danced and sang too, and Jacque Jones pointed up to the heavens where his father lives now and Batgirl pointed up, too, and said, that one's for you, Papa Jones. You got a good kid.”
You see, Jacque Jones’ father had passed away a few days earlier, and nobody expected Jacque to play that night. And when he hit the game-winning dinger, he did, in fact, point toward the heavens as he rounded the bases. But Batgirl did not really dance and sing. I know, because I saw her cry when it happened. She is soft-hearted like that, and it was one of those sweet, sentimental moments that are one of the many reasons I love baseball.
The following day, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an article about Jacque and his dad and the homerun and the pointing, an article that that also made ME cry, and I posted a comment to that effect on Batgirl’s blog.
A little later that morning, I received this e-mail:
From: My Ho
Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 2004 2:02 PM
I was sitting behind Batgirl last night at the Batgathering, and wanted to tell you I had the same reaction as you when I read that story in the Strib this morning. "Pointing Jacque" is on my desktop and still is bringing me to a stop when I look at it.
And that’s how it all began.
That limping, shaggy, very tall friend of Batgirl’s at the Bulldog turned out to be My Ho.
He’s decidedly less droopy now than he was a year ago. But the bouquet of three dozen miniature roses that just arrived at my desk are proof enough that he is just as sweet and sentimental as he ever was.