Where were you when?

Where were you when ______?

It’s a question that has been asked through the ages. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, its snake-like smoke plume shooting up over the dashed hopes of America?

Where were you on February 21, 2011?

I was at home, getting ready. I should’ve been ready by then, but I always wait until the last minute. Although I wasn’t ready, I had the supplies you need for this kind of situation: knee socks of the proper density to keep your feet and at least half of your legs warm while allowing you to wear short shorts and slide across hardwood floors, a highlighter that perfectly matches the short shorts, an almost untouched container of chocolate chip ice cream (a relatively simple, old-school flavor, which is comforting) and one sterling spoon that matches no other silverware in the house, a hairbrush to use as a microphone in the event of sassiness, and a fan-fucking-tastic playlist of you-suck-asshole music just waiting for you to hit “play.”

How does it happen? It happens like these things always happen. There’s a hushed phone call or a text and somebody somewhere says something like, “We have to talk.” You could just cancel the postgame show right then because you know what’s going to happen and you shouldn’t even have to bother with the rest of it, but you stupidly always think there’s a chance you’ll say something so witty, profound, and cuttingly accurate that you’ll change the path the earth travels around the sun and this won’t happen. It never works that way, ever, but I suppose thinking it’s possible is inherently part of the human struggle. While you get ready to meet him, your mental Rolodex spins out of control and randomly stops on different thoughts:

She won’t make you happy.

She’s not that smart. Eventually, sooner than you think, you’ll get bored. (You’re much more subtle than this, of course, but “you’ll get bored” is a good one to pull out because it implies that you are much more worldly, sophisticated, fascinating, and sexy than she is and if you couldn’t keep him, well, you know.)

Nobody understands you like I do.

Your heart pounds as you put on your jacket and meet him somewhere, probably a park, which is better than a bar or a restaurant in case things get ugly. He’s wearing jeans, Uggs, a ridiculous striped knit hat that’s too big and has a pompom, and mittens that are attached to a string you wear through your jacket so you don’t lose them. (Whatever, this is my story and I can have him dress however I want. Making him look stupid now is the only power I have left.)

City Park

I have parks.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

We walk around Ferril Lake. It’s colder than I thought. I think he’d offer me a mitten, but doing so would require removing the whole mitten-string contraption from his jacket. I put my hands in my pockets and glare at the wind and flash-debate whether I want to hear him say it or whether I don’t want to hear it at all.

“So, I –” he starts.

“I know,” I blurt. I guess this means I don’t want to hear it at all. “When are you leaving?”

“I don’t know. Tuesday?”

It’s Monday. I almost ask where he’s going to stay, but I don’t want to know. I can’t care about these things any more.

“I’m taking Chauncey, AC, and Shelden.”

“Chauncey? Aaaaaa Ceeeee? Really?” I’m going to have nobody left.

“And Balkman.”

“Renaldo? Fuck.” That’s low. Renaldo is my favorite.

“You’ll get guys,” he says.

“I know. But they’re strangers.”

“It’s not you. It’s –”

“Oh don’t even.” Of course it’s me, you jackass. What does that even mean, anyway? It’s me it’s you it’s going to New York because it’s the only city big enough for your ridiculous ego.

We walk and my eyes are watering from the biting wind.

“What about the dogs?” I say. “You’ll miss the dogs.” This wasn’t true.

“I know.” He doesn’t look at me.

There are dogs everywhere. I don’t know if they have them where he’s going. I’m sure they do, I mean, but it’s different. They don’t have dogs in Subarus, lolling their tongues out the window on the way to the mountains, muddy paws on the upholstery because, as a people, we don’t care that much about our cars but we still have them. We don’t have a subway.

He’ll be happy with her, of course. They always are. She’s energetic and dark and light and sparkly and honestly probably has a rough coke habit and a closet full of Jimmy Choos. I’m quieter, earthy, don’t always do my hair, and have been known to wear Birkenstocks (only occasionally, like on a Sunday afternoon when you go to the park to listen to live jazz and watch the neighborhood gangsters in their color-coordinated shirts and baseball hats perform their elaborate display behavior on a large scale). I like hiking and microbrews and medical marijuana and don’t think I’ve ever been to anything that qualifies as a bodega. I don’t have an accent (if you try to tell me I have a Chicago accent, like Jennifer Beals is trying too hard to have on The Chicago Code, her “a”s all flat like a hissing bike tire that just ran over one of those things Ben calls Baumgarts that get stuck in Coltrane’s paw and make him limp around like a pirate, I’ll fight you on it because it’s not true and, for the record, I also don’t make random things plural for no reason (the store is Jewel, not the Jewels, and nobody calls it the Jewels) and also nobody calls it the “el train,” while we’re at it). As far as I know, I don’t have a meatpacking district, although I do have unfortunate cowboys who stand on the street by their old pickup trucks and pretend the litter blowing by is tumbleweeds and that this is still the wild west.

The last time I was heartbroken after a relationship ended, I sat on the couch and watched hour after hour of ESPN. I don’t go out with the girls, get drunk, and talk shit about the latest man to break my heart. That was never my style. I watch an endless loop of late-night SportsCenter, over and over, until I can tell you exactly who will be the first team out of the NCAA tournament, which I’m looking forward to even in my diminished state. That doesn’t even help now because it’s all about him. I don’t even want to mention the shit ESPN wrote on my Facebook wall earlier this evening, “Hey, I threw together a little video montage of highlights from your relationship with Melo. I’ll be airing it 100 times a day for the next week. Hope you’re okay xoxo hugs.” I change my status to “single.” I drink too much and tweet inappropriate things to @JR_Swish. (Oh crap, JR Smith just deleted his Twitter again but his pictures are still up.) I’ve always had my eye on that guy, if you want to know the truth.

I turn off the tv and bust out the “I just got dumped” soundtrack. Helen Reddy has always been there for me.

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

Shit, she’s right. I am wise and if I have to I can do anything. Anything. Not that this is what Helen Reddy had in mind, but I can even find a new man. A better man. A new star.

I turn the music down, pick up my phone, and make a call. He answers after one ring.

“Hey, Ubaldo?”

Awesome Song & Best Pitch Ever

I just have two quick things today.

First, go listen to this song now. It’s fun. Trust me.

Second, did you know that Ubaldo Jimenez threw the best pitch ever? He did. Check out this awesome post about it, complete with gif.

I haven’t written much about sports lately, but at the very least, I plan to update some of the “Players We Like” soon. I’ll be scoping out new info. on people like Jamaal Tatum (who is worse about updating his website than I am), Linas Kleiza (back in the NBA!), Julius Hodge, Jerry Owens, and Garrett Wolfe. If you’re Julian Sensley, let me know what’s going on in your life right now.

Ubaldo Jimenez: Rising Star

Check this out — Ubaldo Jimenez is getting national attention. It’s about time, yo. I told y’all about him way back in 2007 (although I didn’t really tell you anything there) and he’s better now than he was then. I totally agree with what Purple Row has to say on Ubaldo’s baseballreference.com page:

Ubaldo Jimenez is the greatest pitcher the Colorado Rockies have ever seen and the first true Ace in Coors Field. Armed with a 100mph fastball that moves a foot and induces extreme groundballs. What isn’t to love about this guy?

Yes,  yes, and yes.

Aside from being a smartypants, he is, without question, the most exciting pitcher to watch (I put him a step above Tim Lincecum). Seeing him in person is incredible, but watching on TV allows you to appreciate the crazy movement on his pitches. Really good pitching is what made me love baseball, and Ubaldo Jimenez reminds me of what it felt like when I realized, oh wow, baseball is freaking awesome. If you think baseball is boring (and I know there are those who do), try watching him pitch. It’s seriously incredible.

He’s going to be big. I just hope the Rockies are good enough to make it matter.

Secret lovers, that’s what we are.

It’s time for me to tell you about my secret.

We’ve had this weird, on-again, off-again thing for a couple years now. I guess you could call it a “relationship,” although I’m hesitant to try to define it — because I’m afraid of getting hurt and because I always have one foot out the door, ready to make my escape. We spend Saturday nights together on occasion, maybe once or twice a month. Usually I have too much to drink, and sometimes I say things I regret later, even though I think I’m too good for you. You know we’re all wrong for each other, a fact that is obvious to everybody in the world who knows either of us. You’re young and inconsistent, a little cheap, and nobody takes you seriously, and I, as you know, have a thing for bad boys. Still, I’m sure it’s not easy being #2 in my heart, knowing you’ll never be #1, a spot already taken by someone more experienced, more worldly, and usually much more talented.

For the past few weeks, you’ve been charming and completely irresistible. You’ve been doing everything right lately, and I’m not sure any girl out there could resist you now. Even though I know our love (if you can call it that) is fragile and I should keep it to myself, it’s time for me to let the world in on this hidden part of my life. I’m a little giddy and I’m not thinking straight.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, but I’m kind of in love with the Rockies.

I should be honest. I’ve been watching Rockies games for what, two years now — pretty much ever since I moved to Denver. I went to approximately 20 games this summer. I cheered loudly for them when they played the Cubs. I yelled at the TV for at least half an hour when Matt Holliday was in the home run derby this season and Chris Berman said “Who is Matt Holliday? Hahaha!” at least as many times as he said “BACKBACKBACKBACKBACK!!!” Of course I’m a Rockies fan.

I always try to deny it, though. The only time I write about the Rockies is when I’m making fun of them for something. The closest thing I have to Rockies apparel is the “What would Jose Mesa do?” t-shirt (because I got it when Jose Mesa was still here and the writing and #49 are purple). If I wear a hat to a Rockies game, it’s a White Sox hat, because the White Sox are my true love.

I’m not going to kick the White Sox while they’re down, but this year, maybe I can be serious about the Rockies for a minute. They’ve been making me feel like I felt in 2005 when the White Sox were on their way to winning the World Series — like anything is possible and I can believe in something I thought was impossible and baseball is the most magical thing in the entire world. And what girl doesn’t want to feel like that?

Now I feel bad. There are so many things I should’ve been telling you about the Rockies:

  • Their new closer, Manny Corpas, is from Panama. He was a rookie last year, when Jose Mesa was still here, and I think he maybe learned at least a couple things from Big Daddy. Ever since Fuentes got “injured” right before the All Star game, I’ve had complete faith in him as a closer.
  • Troy Tulowitzki is going to win Rookie of the Year. If you’re even a little bit of a baseball fan, you have to watch this kid. He is amazing. He makes some of the most ridiculous throws I’ve ever seen. If you have the same attitude about life that he has about baseball, you’re awesome, and you’re going to be really happy.
  • Kazuo Matsui is one of my favorites. His at-bat music is Tricky by Run DMC, and that makes me love him even more than I would’ve otherwise.
  • Matt Holliday is a good choice for MVP. If you don’t know, now you know.
  • In a few years, you’ll know Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • Right now, I want you to scream “YORVIT TORREALBA!!!” as loud as you can — that’s fun, isn’t it? I do this every time he bats, because he is my favorite player. If you watched the game last night, you saw him play defense like the Chicago Bears (when they aren’t riddled with injuries).

According to some math people in California, there’s like a 39% chance that the Rockies will make the playoffs. Last week, their chances were around 3%. I haven’t heard anybody mention Jesus as the reason for this success, so I think they all realize that they’re winning because they want to win, because it’s just what they do, because they really want to make it. That’s what makes me shell out the $$ for some good seats for this Saturday’s game against the Diamondbacks without talking shit about it for an hour first. I hope they’re still in the race on Saturday — I hope more than anything that I can scream and cheer like I haven’t screamed and cheered since the time the Broncos beat the Patriots in the post season a couple years ago. Even if they aren’t, though, I can scream and cheer so they know that their fans, the real baseball fans in Denver, appreciate the hell out of what they’ve done with the end of this season and hopefully, the owners, who I don’t trust, decide to shell out the $$ to keep these guys together next year.

Did you know that the Rockies are on a 10-game winning streak? Well, if you don’t know, now you know. I gotta go watch the game — hopefully this will be #11.