Well, that’s it.
Back to reality.
The Honeymoon is over.
After three glorious weeks abroad, I am back in Toronto (which isn’t too bad) and back at work (which is horrendous).
It was a great trip. Mrs. 500 Level Fan and I spent time in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Sos Del Rey, and Barcelona in Spain, then flew to London for a few days in jolly ol’ England. There was a lot of food, a lot of wine, a lot of beer, and a lot of sun. We spent days on the beach, days in museums, and days
in soccer stadiums. Amazing, amazing stuff.
One of the highlights for sure was attending my first ever English Premier League game, the west London derby between Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers. If you thought some baseball rivalries were intense and some baseball in-game fan experiences were crazy, you’ve got nothing on this. Swearing, chanting, singing, shouting, police in riot gear, police on horseback – this game had it all. There’s a very good chance I write a special Premier League Fan of the Game post shortly.
But despite the beauty of the cities and towns we were in, despite the joy of being on my honeymoon, despite the pure brilliance of being away from work, and despite the amazing feeling of growing a beard (I haven’t shaved in 28 days), I found myself missing something.
Only once did I see baseball on TV overseas – a Spanish language version of This Week in Baseball. Rugby, soccer, handball, basketball, and cricket dominate the media. Thank goodness for the iPod touch and free WiFi, which kept me plugged in to the craziness of the last few weeks of the season.
When I left on the afternoon of September 15th, Boston lead the AL Wild Card by 4 games over Tampa Bay. Atlanta had a 4.5 game lead over St. Louis. The Jays were sitting at one game above .500 and getting set to play their last homestand of the season. Curtis Granderson was on the verge of catching Jose Bautista in home runs. Well, apparently a lot happened after that.
The Red Sox collapse brought joy and happiness to me each morning. On the final day of the regular season I wanted nothing more than to be able to stay up and follow the games, see for myself whether Tampa Bay could complete the improbable surge. But I was in Barcelona. Spain is six hours ahead, so a 7 PM first pitch is 1 AM there. Plus we had been drinking tons of wine for 12 consecutive days. It wasn’t happening.
But the next morning I was stunned to learn about what happened. The Red Sox blew it in the 9th and the Rays erased a 7-0 lead in the 8th? Both games ended less than five minutes apart? Are you kidding me?
What a finish!
To top it off, the Jays score two in the 9th to beat Chicago and end the season right at .500, and Jose Bautista wins the major league HR crown for the second straight season.
Man. Good things happen when I’m away.
Maybe I should go to Spain more often.