Justin Masterson was called up from Double-A Portland to pitch an emergency start against the Anaheim Angels. It was his major league debut. Unfortunately, his six innings of work, in which the Angels could only manage two hits, was ruined by an implosion in the bullpen. As it turns out, so was my enjoyment of the game.
You see, yesterday was one of those rare weekday afternoon games. The kind of thing where you scratch your head and wonder what genius would schedule a game not only when most adults are working but also when most kids are in school. Seriously, who was supposed to be able to watch that game? I set my DVR to record it and figured I’d start watching it once I got home. I told my colleagues in the office, in an attempt to keep someone from blowing the ending for me (as someone there had done during the first game of the season). It was pretty dead around there anyhow, so I was able to escape around 4:30 without even the slightest idea of how things were going. I put on my headphones, turned on my trusty iPod, and walked downstairs to where the shuttle service picks us up and deposits us at the T station in Harvard Square, Cambridge. But the driver, who shall remain nameless, just couldn’t leave well enough alone. I figured that the game might be on the van’s radio; that’s why I had the iPod cranked up. But the guy just couldn’t resist telling me what was going on, despite my pleas that I was taping the game to watch when I got home. Seriously, no sooner did I say something along the lines of “Please don’t tell me, I’m going to start it when I get home” did he blurt out, “THEY’RE LOSING! Down by three!! In the ninth!” And it’s like, thank you, thank you for that.
Seriously, it’s not just about winning or losing. Had I not had the game spoiled for me, I would have enjoyed watching Masterson’s six great innings. I would have been dismayed at the damage the bullpen did, but I would have still had the experience of enjoying the game. Win or lose, it’s still fun to watch assuming it’s well-played, and most of the time it is. But once you know the outcome, win or lose, it becomes so much harder to watch. At least for me. I have no more interest in watching a game they win if the outcome’s been spoiled than I do a game that they lose. It’s not about the score, it’s about the game. And it was blown for me.
When I got home, I turned on the DVR and fast forwarded through to the bottom of the ninth. At least I could watch the Sox’ final turn at bat not knowing the outcome. But even with David Ortiz hitting a two run homer to bring the team within striking distance, it was hard to muster much enthusiasm. Not when I had been deprived of the fun of watching it all.
What part of “Please don’t tell me, I’m going to watch it when I get home” was unclear? I’m dying to know so I can phrase it better next time.