Friday, October 30, 2009

Sweet Home Chicago

Earlier this year, as the Braves and Yankees met in an interleague series, Jay and I decided to revisit both the 1996 and 1999 World Series between the two clubs, much like we did earlier this week with the 1950 Yanks-Phils World Series. In addition to recaps of each of the six games in the '96 Series, I tacked on an additional entry summarizing my personal memories of that Series.

In short, I was pumped that the Yankees were back in the World Series for the first time since I was a year old. Games One and Two were in New York, and the Yankees dropped them both. Game One was postponed a day by rain, but was a total beat down when played, with Andruw Jones knocking two out of the park. The morning of Game Three I boarded a plane, flew to Washington D.C. for a conference, and spent the remainder of the World Series there. I returned the following Sunday, the day of a potential Game Seven that wasn't be necessary. While in D.C. I didn't get to watch the games as closely as I wanted to, but the Yankees didn't lose again, taking home their first Championship in my lifetime.

I thought of those days quite often this week. The Phillies entered this Series as the defending World Champions, the first NL club to do so since those '96 Braves. They defeated the Yankees convincingly in a rainy Game One, with Chase Utley hitting two home runs. Thankfully Game Two went a little different this time around.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm going to hop on a plane again. I'm heading to Chicago, and I'll remain there until Thursday morning, the day of a potential Game Seven. Thanks to work obligations, I likely will miss the early innings of at least Games Four and Five.

This trip has been scheduled for quite some time. There's no getting out of it. At some point maybe two months ago, I realized that it would be happening smack dab in the middle of the World Series, and that it could have a negative impact on my watching my favorite team in the Series. A few weeks ago I had a sit down with my boss, who is British and does not like baseball at all. I explained my potential conundrum, and thankfully he lent a sympathetic ear. I'm hopeful I'll be given a bit of leeway next week so that I can watch the games in their entirety.

And yet, part of me isn't worried. In an old Simpsons episode, Lisa walks by Bart's room, and overhears him praying for a snowstorm to postpone the test for which he is not prepared. "Prayer," she says to herself, "the last refuge of a scoundrel". I like to think of myself as a bit better than a scoundrel, and I don't believe that the folks who answer prayers are particularly interested in baseball. But the tension of the post-season does have the ability to turn my usually rational self into a bit of a superstitious being.

I've never been in my home state of Connecticut when the Yankees have won the World Series. I was in D.C. in '96 and away at college in '98, '99, in '00. A good part of me can't wait to get on that plane tomorrow; I'm hoping it'll play out like the previous times I've been away from home during Yankee World Series appearances. For strictly superstitious reasons, I'm looking forward to calling Chicago my sweet home for the next five days.

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