“Standing on the gallows with my head in the noose/ Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose.”- Bob Dylan, “Things Have Changed”
Look folks, I’m not a baby. I’m a full-grown woman. I understand where we’re at. I understand this is darkness at noon. I can see those last lights flicker on the horizon of the Nationals inspired, even enchanted 2019 campaign. I’ve seen the things the Astros can do. I’ve seen it with my own eyes – terrible, apocalyptic visions of hanging curves hit thirty rows deep. Bases stolen with malevolent, lawless impunity. Relief pitchers starting games and hurling like Warren Spahn. For three straight contests they have disassembled the Nationals piece by piece with the mechanical precision of a psychotic surgeon. You cannot watch what I’ve watched and be unmoved by the sheer robotic sadism of this 25-man roster of terrors. I’ve not slept well when I’ve slept at all.
The obvious question, which I know will be asked of me, and is only fair: Where’s your chelada God now? And it is true, by the time I saw the news on Sunday that Max Scherzer would be scratched from his scheduled Game 5 start, and replaced by toiling journeyman Joe Ross, I did experience a flicker of doubt. Anyone who has ever devoted themselves to true faith will understand the precarious psychic dislocations that can occur when your fully reasonable desire to see your favorite team win the World Series as a direct reaction to your drinking a chelada is suddenly and inexplicably upended. There is a near cosmic loneliness in such moments, mitigated only slightly by how absolutely delicious cheladas are, despite what certain heretics amongst you proclaim in the comment section.
In any event, I see my role (and redemption) now as a sort of battlefield nurse. Just as Walt Whitman once provided medical care to the wounded on the bloody fields of the Civil War and made a record of those events, so to will I attend to the fallen. How will I manage to do this from the comfort of my apartment? I haven’t figured that out yet, but it will involve drinking a chelada, and that much is certain.
And what of our puncher’s chance of forcing a Game 7 tonight with Stephen Strasburg on the hill? Well, Strasburg has been dominant for three months running. The Astros will try and get to him early as they did in Game 2 before he settled down, and we know they are more than capable. On the other hand, if Strasburg is getting his curve over and hitting his spots he is a giant handful. He pitched eight brilliant shutout innings in a 2017 elimination game at Wrigley so he’s starred in some version of this movie before. I say force a Game 7 and see what happens!
Regardless of what pain may await, the pleasures of this post-season have been sublime and indelible. I love this Nationals team and they have rewarded me tenfold for my steadfastness, even if the past three games have seemingly been played and managed in a state of lysergic insanity. If tonight we ride for the final time, let us ride high and in a manner frosty and refreshing. Win or lose I remain yours, full in my devotion, Chelady In Red.