My husband Jerry and I flew to Italy on September 21st for a month’s slow travel on the back roads of Italy. We had found happy homes for our season ticket seats for the games we knew we’d miss and crossed our fingers that we’d have post-season games to follow via twitter and MLB.com. However when we left the Rays only had a small glimmer of hope to make the playoffs which would require winning almost all of the remaining eight games and for the Boston Red Sox to lose most of theirs.
Unbelievably, each day as we drove through the Dolomites and the Friuli region of northeastern Italy, that glimmer of hope got a little brighter. On the morning of September 22nd we headed north up the western shore of Lake Garda up into the Dolomite region of Italy, We spent our 26th anniversary at Pa’ Khraizar a lovely chalet styled inn in remote Sauris, a village famed for it’s Prosciutto di Sauris a savory smoked ham aged for at least 10 months. We ate a lovely anniversary dinner of local specialities, in a cozy honey-colored, pine-paneled dining room. We woke on the 23rd to a misty, stillness only broken by the sounds of the town bells and roosters. And the news that the Rays had beaten the Yankees 15-8!
|Lake Sauris at Dawn: View from our Room|
|Cividale del Friuli on the Natisone River|
|The Grand Canal of Trieste|
|View of the Port of Trieste from our window at the Savoia Excelsior Hotel|
|Fishing Nets & Huts with Comacchio in Background (Po River Delta)|
|Jerry walking at sunset at edge of Le Occare orchards|
|Le Occare with a wonderful truffle hunter standing guard|
|Past Le Occare dogs kept me company in my rocker|
So I sat down on the edge of the rocker in the corner of the room, shivering just a bit, to see what would happen next I held my breath Out 1, Out 2….I’m beginning to think I’ll get back in bed where it’s warm for the last out. Then I see that Dan Johnson is up to bat and there I hear the collective groan of resignation across the twitterverse. Echoing that sign, I headed back to the warmth of the blankets. And WHAM BAM….my twitter stream exploded for the second time of the night as Dan Johnson hits the homer that ties the game. TIES the game! Hubby woke up on that one, because, no, I just couldn’t keep silent.
Jerry rolls over to look at me with that resigned look only 26 years of marriage could produce as he sees me sitting up in bed staring intently at the screen on my blackberry. “What’s up?” he asks. “We’re tied 7 -7 in the 9th”, I say. “Wow, what time is it?” he mumbles as rolls back over.
My blackberry screen can produce an amazing amount of glow light, so I retreated back to the corner of the room in the rocker, this time with socks on and a blanket wrapped around me. I now knew I’d be up until the game was done and that might not be anytime soon.
Play by play, tweet by tweet, we (my twitter friends and I) crawled through the 10th inning then 11th inning. There was a lot of “breath holding” and rocking on my part….lots of rocking. 12th inning and Evan was up again. Finding it hard to believe lightning was going to strike twice in one game, I kept rocking figuring we were going to see the 13th inning.
As I climbed back into bed, I realized that the sky was starting to lighten over the fields of the Po River Valley. Birds were rustling in the bushes outside my windows and I could hear the stirring of the truffle dogs. The Rays had won in a spectacular fashion showing the grit and discipline many of us admire them for. And there would be more games to follow on Twitter from the back roads of Italy. It was now time for sleep…and later a celebratory coffee, maybe two.
(portions of this story will soon appear in an e-book written by Paul Kocak (@kocakwords) about Game 162. I'll keep you all posted when his book is available)