Sudden death.

Last night’s game against Tampa Bay got really exciting in the top of the ninth, when the Sox came back from two runs behind to tie up the game, and then got very disappointing very quickly when Embree gave up a leadoff home run to Eduardo Perez on his first pitch in the bottom of the ninth. I had just set up the ironing board to press some clothes, since I figured we’d be forcing some extra innings. I ended up doing my ironing first in front of (very briefly) UPN’s postgame show, probably the worst I’ve ever seen (Commentator: “Well, that gives new meaning to the word, er, new meaning to the words ‘sudden death…'”), and the first episode of season three of The Sopranos.
The show is renowned for its use of music, and this episode goes ahead and trumps all expectations, featuring a jaw-dropping and inspired fusion of Henry Mancini’s ‘Peter Gunn’ and ‘Every Breath You Take’ by the Police as the soundtrack to the FBI’s surveillance of the title family, the central action of the episode. The songs are such a perfect blend that it makes you wonder why on earth no one’s done it before: the rhythms are the same, and the melodies merge in an ominous and creepy way to create this incredible mood of tension and suspense. If this is an omen for the rest of season three, I think I’m in luck.
In terms of the Sox game, some positives: despite his error, Bellhorn made some great plays, offensively and defensively, Vazquez laid down two sacrifice bunts to bring in the runs, and Wake’s pitching wasn’t in fact bad at all — it was just not the shutout Clement had delivered the night before, and not the terrifying stuff we know he’s capable of. The Sox were rallying; if not for that one pitch in the bottom of the ninth, it might have been a completely different ballgame.
During commercial breaks, Mike and I stumbled across something we didn’t know existed: competetive arm-wrestling on ESPN’s ‘Best Damn Sports Show Ever’ (a dubious title if ever one existed), which is basically the world’s most terrifyingly jacked and unbelievably stupid dudes trying to psych each other out and put one another’s arms to the table, while refs (who outnumber the wrestlers) try to keep them from beating each other up. The whole thing looks like a barfight with referees and a seated audience — and, in fact, the competitors look like precisely the kind of dudes who wouldn’t hesitate to pick a fight for no reason whatsoever, and who, once in that fight, would beat their opponent to a bloody pulp. The interview with the reigning champ was enough to make you start crying about the state of education and violence in America — or, if you’re the activist type, go give a large charitable donation to the nearest organization counseling pregnant mothers not to drink. Is that too harsh? It was scary, very very scary. And also ridiculous, which is perhaps the saddest thing.
But today’s a new day, and a new ballgame.

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