Maria tossed her keys on the kitchen counter and let out a theatrical sigh of relief witnessed by the audience of one small gray cat. It had been a long, strenuous day, and she was excited to put it all behind her in a blur of alcohol and her other crutch.
She removed one 24 ounce Miller High Life from the double-bag she’d set on the counter before her keys, then placed the others on the top shelf of her barren refrigerator, bags and all. As Fallon purred and rubbed against her ankles in a figure-eight, Maria removed a box of aluminum foil from a drawer, tore off a sliver, and replaced it; she then pulled a few paper towels from their roll and retreated to her room.
Although no one else was home, she still locked the door behind her, then placed everything in her hands on her desk before settling into the ragged chair whose best days were long passed. Immediately she groaned, realizing she’d forgotten to empty her pockets, proceeding to stand and remove her phone, a pack of Camel cigarettes, and a yellow Bic lighter from her filthy blue work pants, leaving just the collection of bills remaining from the hundred dollars she’d been paid under the table for that day’s work.
After ripping a single paper towel from the sheet of three, she wiped the top of her beer can, just as she had ever since seeing the episode of Myth Busters which verified that most cans are covered in a microscopic layer of rat feces. She took another paper towel and wiped the grime and perspiration from her face and forearms; she really needed to take a shower, but it would have to wait - she had much more pressing concerns.
Using a dull pair of medical scissors, Maria cut the foil into a rectangle approximately eight by three inches, balling up the remainder and throwing it away. she then reached into her pack of cigarettes and withdrew a small bag the size of a postage stamp, at which time her eyes fell upon a Post-It note she had written on the night before. “Oh, maaaaan,” she muttered.
Her scrawl read, “REMINDER: Recap the Indians game tomorrow”. The game had started at 1:10 pm, and it was currently a quarter ‘til 6.
Maria wasn’t even a Cleveland fan — she had rooted for the Mariners since she was five years old and attended kindergarten with Alvin Davis’s neice — but she had a few friends who were, and had become quite fond of their online community. On occasion she would write posts for the blog managed by one of her friends, sometimes volunteering to fill in on game recaps. This was one of those times, something she had forgotten when an acquaintance banged on her door that morning with the offer of quick money helping out on a drywall job. Quickly she typed “indians score” into the Google search bar on her phone and saw that they’d beaten the Twins 5-3. From the line score she ascertained that they’d taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, fallen behind by a run in the very next half-inning, then taken the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, allowing just one more Minnesota run. This was good news for her, since recaps of wins tended to be easier to write than those of losses. Now she just had to look up the details and pretend she’d actually watched the game.
Before that, though, she needed to do what she’d spent all day waiting for. Just as quickly as she thought that, she decided otherwise. The recap was already overdue, and she didn’t need to waste any more of their time. That, and she wanted to make a good impression, and a clear mind was essential to do so. But beer... well, sipping a beer between sentences didn’t waste any time and besides, beer and baseball go together like three and four. Satisfied with her rationalization, she cracked open her tall boy of High Life, took a long drink, and clicked on the link to see the box score and play-by-play results.
The box score told most of the story. Cleveland had gotten the job done with just six hits, none more essential than a three-run shot by Jason Kipnis which reclaimed the lead in the sixth inning. Kipnis also doubled, as did Michael Brantley; the duo combined for two-thirds of the Tribe’s base knocks, with the others being singles off the bats of designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and first baseman Yonder Alonso who Maria had taken a liking to in his brief time with the Mariners.
On the other side, the visiting Twins had put up a good fight, but their pair of homers and three singles didn’t suffice against the division leaders. Seeing that one of the home runs was hit by Miguel Sano, she thought that was a pretty cool angle considering that earlier in the year he had been exiled to the low minors, then soured just as quickly when she recalled the sexual assault allegations against him. She didn’t know of any such controversy involving shortstop Ehire Adrianza, so she thought “Good for him” when she saw that the nine-hole hitter was who hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning to briefly put Minnesota ahead. Always a sucker for the underdogs, she had a twinge of regret that she had missed seeing that happen, even though she was technically supposed to be pulling for Cleveland for the purpose of her fill-in duty.
At this point, just wanting to put the recap behind her so she could attend to her proverbial itch, Maria racked her brain for an angle. First she thought she could frame it around the quality start by Mike Clevinger or the continuation of Michael Brantley’s strong season, then she got the off-the-wall idea of a lightly fictionalized meta-retelling of how the recap itself came to be, then cast that aside as too ridiculous and time-consuming. No, she thought, straightforward was the way to go. She took the last drink of her her first beer, went to the kitchen to retrieve another, sat back down, opened a new Word document, and began.
[Editor’s Note: We appear to have lost Joe Lanek at this time, so this is the Game Recap you are getting today.]