just like new

now that's what i'm talking about. steadfast, stiff-necked workmanship. calm composure; business as usual. play the game off and accept the result.

confidence.

we saw it all summer, missed it badly this weekend, and welcomed it back just when it seemed to have left for winter quarters in foxboro, massachusetts, or durham north carolina, or wherever. the 2005 season began with an eckstein at-bat at minute maid park -- he grounded to short -- and it began anew with another eckstein at-bat at minute maid, and another groundball, this one worming its way through the infield.

"no way this guy makes the last out," i had said moments before -- and bless his heart the lil guy got a hit and made me look sorta smart in front of my friends steve (pirates fan), lisa (giants), and anthony (ecstatic chixos lifer). small victory, but i was prepared to savor it all the way to april; kinda not much choice, you know? edmonds stepped in, and i muttered "pop one into those dinky seats in left" with no conviction. when the count got to 3-1 steve asked, "take a pitch?" and, still not particularly interested, i answered, "naw, letter rip."

jimmy walked, and the astros conferenced as albert's shadow darkened the mound. i looked up from the floor and dared to ask anthony and lisa, matter-of-factly: "how well do you guys know your neighbors?" "oh we know `em," lisa said, "they're cool." "so just in case something really exciting happens here and i start screaming like a madman, they're not going to call the cops or anything?" lisa: "no, they'll be fine. they've been hearing it all week from anthony because of the white sox."

excellent; licensed to shrill.

"he's gotta lay off that slider," i was explaining, just as albert flailed right through one on lidge's first pitch and looked terrible doing it. he stepped out of the box and drew a deep breath, and i told steve: "his body language and facial expressions are not inspiring a lot of confidence." he took his stance, and i looked at albert's image on the screen and thought: c'mon, you can do this.

like albert needed me to tell him.

and so it continues -- the series, the season, the stadium; larry walker's career. we go back to wondering who will be healthy enough to play, and which mulder is going to show up, and can the bullpen hold a lead, and will la russa keep the irrational decisions to a minimum. . . . . . or maybe we don't. maybe we just let all that stuff go. maybe, in this newly born season, we simply watch like the newly born -- with little understanding but much wonder. maybe we mull nothing but newborn thoughts: so this is what it's like to be alive. well i'll be damned.

no need to ask us who's our daddy.

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