It’s gut check time in Doug Dunnevant’s America. On so many fronts, things are coming down to the wire, palms are getting sweaty, butt-cheeks are tightening. The sublime agony of suspense is in the air. Let me count the ways.
My Red Sox, once a virtual lock to make the playoffs are now hanging by a thread in the AL east. Tampa Bay is only two games back with seven to play. Boston is down to two reliable starting pitchers. Their bullpen is suddenly choking away leads in the late innings. Twenty year old Red Sox fans who have never known the team of the Curse are about to be introduced to what older fans endured for 90 years, a talented team that inexplicably falters down the stretch. Even if they somehow hang on, a World Series appearance seems out of the question with the likes of John Lackey, Eric Bedard, Tim Wakefield and two wild-eyed rookies at the back end of your rotation.
My Braves are gasping for breath over in the NL east as well. Just a few weeks ago this pitching heavy team seemed a lock for the wild card. Now, the terrific but very young bullpen is faltering, and the time honored adage about pitching being 90% of baseball is about to be tested. While in a short series pitching does indeed dominate, you’ve got to have SOME hitting. The Braves only clutch hitter is 41 years old and their only power threat is hitting .230 and strikes out more often than a fat guy with a cold sore at a singles bar. A two and a half game lead over St. Louis with seven to play seems shaky. I miss Bobby Cox.
The broker-dealer change go date is fast approaching. The paper work is flying. Trees all over America are paying the ultimate price. With mind-numbing complexity, the process grinds on. Errors and omissions are starting to mount. I’ve participated in more conference calls in the past two months than I had in all of my previous 53 years. But as insane as the thing has been up to this point, it is destined to get worse once we actually move. Then I’ll be treated to a confusing new world of strange computer systems, an unreadable payroll , and that terrible feeling of being the new kid, where everyone else understands everything except you, the slow one. Its like being the blind guy in a crowded apartment. Just when you start feeling comfortable with the place, some wise-guy rearranges the furniture.
Speaking of being the new guy, that’s where my daughter is at Wake Forest. New city, new apartment, new roommate, new university, new level of scholastic competition, and very old and reliable feelings of inadequacy. In this area of life she is her mother’s daughter, and I feel worthless trying to help her with the adjustments. The advice that I give is the sort of thing that she would never in a million years do because that’s not how she’s wired. So I listen, feeling helpless, and rely on my wife to talk her through. And, she will make it through because deep inside, beneath all of the angst and doubt, there lives a bulldog of a competitor, one of the things she got from me.