Here’s how my Thursday went. How was yours?
* 7 a.m. I ventured outside to get my newspaper and was nearly blown over by the 60 mph winds that were fanning the wildfires.
* 8 a.m. I listened to our local news and heard that over 2500 acres had burned (we were at 400 yesterday), along with 75 houses.
* 10 a.m. I sorted through my emails and found one from a friend named John who’d been forced to evacuate. “We’re safe,” he wrote. “But our house is in the hands of the winds and the firefighters.”
* Noon: Among the emails that go directly to my web site about my book was one from a reader named Dennis who wrote, “I can’t believe you missed a game because it was hot out. I travel all the way from western Mass to get away from these ****** Red Sox fans and would drive through any type of weather to get to the Bronx. You don’t deserve to be a Yankee fan.”
* 2 p.m. A tree in front of our house was knocked over by a gust of wind and split right down the middle.
* 3 p.m. I turned on the water in the sink only there wasn’t any.
* 4 p.m. I sat down to watch Yankees-Rays. Before I even blinked, Pettitte gave up homers to Bartlett and Pena, followed two innings later by another to Longoria. Oh, Andy.
* 5 p.m. With the Rays ahead 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the very large Niemann walked Melky and allowed a single to Pena before being replaced by Cormier, who gave up doubles to Molina and Damon. The Yanks pulled to within 4-3. That was the good news. Then, up came Tex, who K-ed and heard boos from the fans.
* 5:30 p.m. Matsui tacked on a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth, tying the score, but what was Cervelli, our newly called up AA catcher, doing behind home plate in the top of the sixth? Could it be that Molina, our backup catcher/everyday catcher, was hurt? Of course.
* 6:30 p.m. Just as I started to think about dinner, the YES Network showed its nightly anti-smoking commercial featuring the woman with the disfigured hands. Talk about an appetite killer.
* 6:45 p.m. Jose Veras had his usual meltdown in the seventh, and the Rays jumped ahead 6-4. But Damon lined a two-run shot in the eighth, tying things up at 6-6. I felt pure joy as I watched Mo trot in from the pen for the ninth….only to witness the unthinkable: back-to-back homers by Crawford and Longoria. Never has Mo given up two in a row. Not in his entire career.
* 7 p.m. The sight of Girardi taking Mo out and bringing in Robertson – and the subsequent news that Mo has been suffering from “arm strength issues” – was too much.
7:30 p.m. After the 8-6 loss, the Yankees’ fifth straight, I tried to perk up. I reminded myself that A-Rod had left camp in Florida and would be in the lineup on Friday in Baltimore.
* 7:45 p.m. But then I heard the wind start to howl even worse than it had been howling all day. The lights flickered too. I looked out the window and saw smoke – lots of it – and suddenly it was back to living in the midst of a raging wildfire.
With baseball over for the night, I grabbed my She-Fan Cam and went outside to play one of those Weather Channel people. Here’s my “report.” The sound isn’t very good, because I was getting knocked around by the wind, but I gave it a shot.
Thanks to all those who’ve expressed concern for my safety and that of the firefighters and residents of Santa Barbara. As of this writing, the fire continues to grow and has the potential to last for months, like the one I mentioned in my book that broke out here in the summer of ’07. But we’re supposed to get a cold front by the weekend – maybe a little fog, if not some actual rain.