Saturday, May 10, 2008

Autumn in spring...

So it's late afternoon on a Saturday, and I'm sitting in the Ramsey's Restaurant back room, drinking a sweet tea, watching the Cubs and the Diamondbacks on the corner TV. Baseball seems tailor-made for a lazy day. Its pace, its rhythms -- it all fits together.

Today is a day for endings. Barring unexpectedly good weather tomorrow, I won't make it back to UT for the season finale. So, today's 5-2 loss to Kentucky was most likely all she wrote for another year.

The Vols got our hopes up in the home half of the 9th with two last-minute home runs. But, as usual during this dreadful losing streak, it was all for naught, too little, too late.

I said good-bye to Carol, her sister Kay and to Bob, my friends in Section C. I looked around for usher Jim, but he'd disappeared. We don't know if we'll be together again next year. New construction at Lindsey Nelson Stadium may break us all up. We'll see.

Tennessee has a game tomorrow (weather permitting) and one last SEC series at South Carolina. But it doesn't look like they'll have to worry about packing for Hoover and the SEC tournament. The fond optimism that followed early, unexpected wins gave way to the realization that this team just isn't very good.

Oh, well. They're young. They need pitching. Badly.

Meanwhile, I'll have the Braves and the Tigers to keep me busy this summer, with the occasional Dodgers' and minor league games thrown in here and there.

Funny thing, though. It felt a little like September this afternoon on Rocky Top. I took one last look around the field, winked at my favorite bat girl and drove off toward the Strip, closing the books on the orange-tinted '08 version of the greatest game of them all.

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