"The pine cones make enemies where there are none!" he screamed at me one day out of the blue, rubbing the hole in his creepy ghost neck the whole time.
"Jasper, what the fuck does that even mean?"
"Squirrels, genius. It means squirrels! Now loan me eightpence for my worm medicine."
Pence, he says. When something like that is the highlight of your summer, you know things are off. There's been no amazing party, no rare bird sighting, no summer loving having a blast where your heart swoons and some girl's all Olivia Newton-John in your world and you're all Travolta on that ass, except without the getting fat and hairy and crazy Scientologist part.
Which is why I wonder if you might be interested in playing catch, Matt Holliday. It would really make my summer.
Let me tell you a little about me, Matt. Gemini, die-hard Rockies fan and son of a season-ticket holder since 1993. You've probably seen me and the old man up in section 236 — club level, Matty, club level. We're the ones always eating peanuts and drinking lemonade. Let me tell you, Matt, we've seen a lot of games from that vantage point. We watched Blake Street get bombed on and loved every second of it, then watched the seemingly interminable seasons stretching from then to now, as Monfort preached to us about youth development and we sat through terrible baseball, watched the attendance dwindle, earnestly wondered if this city could continue to sustain a club. But then things started to get better last year.
You remember it, Matty. Christ, you practically spearheaded it! At one point last season, the Rockies were one of the top teams in baseball. That fell apart, of course, but it was enough to make me and my pops look at each other and remark, "Well, hot damn, these boys can play some ball, even if they are inconsistent."
This season, the exact same thing is happening — except the quality of play during those rare hot streaks is absolutely phenomenal. That 20-7 run you guys had was the most fun I can remember as a Rockies fan since the Blake Street Terrorists. The 1-9 slide blew, but things seem to be turning around, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I'm starting to think about the playoffs. I know it's stupid, Matty, but I am. I can't help myself — it's how wishful fans operate.
And even without the victories, this lineup is fun. I love the speed up top, I love the power in the middle — by the way, I think you guys should nickname Tulowitzki "Tulocop" and Kazuo Matsui "KazMat" — and when the pitching is all there, you're pretty hard to beat. And after the second All-Star Game in your young career, Matt, you've got MVP numbers. I'm not trying to jinx it. Shoot, I'm not even the first to say it. I'm just stating the facts.
Bottom line, Matt, you're a stud, a burgeoning superstar. I hope this team can hang on to you for your entire career and that you can guide this franchise to glory. But I've had my heart broken by the Rockies too many times to really expect that (and for some reason, I have this sneaking suspicion that Fenway has its eye on you). So I'm asking you, in earnest, to let me come down and play catch with you for a few minutes before one of these games. I played ball in high school, Matt, I can throw just fine, so I won't embarrass you like those clueless nitwits they trot out for the Frontier Flyball Challenge. Shit, I might even get cocky and show you the knuckler, Matty.
I know it's asking a lot, but sometimes you have to shoot for the moon in order to catch a closer, unmanned star and/or planet or alien life form. Jasper the hobo told me that. So you see what you can do, I'll see what I can do, and together, Matty, maybe we can save my summer.