The Midnight Writer Paul Revere had nothing on today's bleary-eyed World Series viewers

November 12, 2001

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight rides of Paul O'Neill
And Yankees mates who authored dramas
Unseen by you, in footed pajamas.
For as the winning runs were scoring
And Mom and Dad were
downstairs snoring,
You were tucked in your race car bed
Lakers pillowcase under your head.
And clocks struck 12,
but you didn't hear them,
Great plays were made,
but you didn't cheer them.

'Cause Major League Baseball
chooses to play
Its climactic games not in the day,
But late at night, for
graveyard shifters,
Vampire bats and fugitive drifters.
A shame when each game
is one for the ages
That newspapers have to hold
their front pages
And you are asleep by the
top of the third
And no one else seems to
think it absurd
That aging bench warmer
Luis Sojo's
Forced, in the dugout, to
mainline No-Doz.

Who, pray tell, finds these hours enjoyable?
The unemployed and the unemployable?
Insomniacs and nursing moms
Prison guards and Peeping Toms?
Long-haul truckers, night-school flunkies
(a.k.a. amphetamine junkies),
Cokeheads, speed freaks
(who never get tired)
Hopped up on goofballs, perpetually wired.
To this fan baseball devotes
its World Series:
The crack-addled viewer whose
head never wearies.

Me, I drank Mountain Dew by the liter,
And still I passed out long before Jeter
Was hugged, at home, by Jorge Posada.
So next night I mixed a caffeina colada.
It's equal parts Jolt and Red Bull and Squirt.
I was drooling it down the front of my shirt
When I woke, in the morning,
from heavenly sleep
Not knowing Scott Brosius had
taken Kim deep.
The homer, I'm told, was exactly like Tino's.
(Missed that one too,
despite nine cappuccinos.)

So Saturday night while watching Game 6,
I poured Mello Yello over my Trix,
Jimmied my eyes with a pair of toothpicks
And watched the carnage unfold in Phoenix.
Three hours in, my head begins falling
Nodding and nodding,
I'm bobble-head-dolling.
I slap my own face, take a cold shower,
But that only buys another half hour.
My eyes get caught in a suicide squeeze:
As Johnson throws K's, I'm catching Z's.

Ages ago (in baseball's Jurassic)
Long before suits betrayed the Fall Classic,
When gals were gals and men were menly
(Before Byung Hyun Kim,
and pre-Bob Brenly)
Ballplayers sweltered in heavy gray flannels,
and TV had but three simple channels
And baseball was played
not only nocturnally
And Yankee Stadium smelled
not quite so urinally
And kids were under the
spell of their Yankees.
(Now, alas, they are under their blankies.)

Don't get me wrong:
These games were the bomb;
I only wish I had watched them on Guam.
There they came on at civilized times
And ended long before 12 a.m.'s chimes.
Instead I was stuck in the
Eastern Time zone
In whose wee small hours I wasn't alone:
A newborn baby cried for her mommy,
An infomercialist sold Hairagami
And Suzanne Somers Mastered her Thighs
As raccoon circles darkened my eyes.

Who else can abide TV at that hour
(After Conan, before Matt Lauer)?
Not a time slot most programmers covet,
But baseball pooh-bahs, they seem to love it.
So Sunday I stared at the idiot box
(A phrase, quite frankly, that's
too kind to Fox)
Washing down uppers with Pepsi Max sodas
The bags 'neath my eyes now rivaling Yoda's.
I made it through eight and
a third at the BOB
And then went to bed. (I have a job.)

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)