Friday, September 30, 2011

Ending Things

The answer is: no. I am not on suicide watch. I do not think that I ever was. There was a dizzying spell right after the Longoria walk-off, in the where I kind of blacked out—I think, so my mind could adequately suppress what had happened in all of Wednesday night’s game—and I came too lying in the back of car that did not belong to me (true story).

In my fantasy league, my buddy—whose team is currently 0-and-3 but was favored before the season started—texted me and said that his fantasy team was like the Sox in September. Great players that cannot get it done.

Ouch. He is a D-Backs fan. Baseball life is good for him right now.

The morning after friends and co-workers treated the situation as if there had been a death in the family. Hand shakes, consoling e-mails, and dozens of ‘I’m-so-sorries’. There were a few that directly had to ask what happened because they missed the games entirely. Those were fun, re-living the play by plays, 12 hours after the fact.

But in all honesty, I cannot really be angry at anyone, but the Red Sox. I cannot point the finger away from the team—even though I **expletive** hate the Yankees for doing exactly nothing. Gosh dammit. In the latter part of the Rays and Yankees game, I sent out the following Twitter, Google+, and Facebook updates:

 “I swear, if the Yankees get on their knees on blow Tampa Bay, and screw me over... I'll kill someone.”
 “You suck d--- Yankees, I can't stand you. What the Eff is your problem.”
 “You gosh damn effing Tankers, I effing hate you.”

The last status that containing ‘Tankers’, was the first one that I posted, but because I was updating my status on my phone, when you type the word ‘Yankees’ it auto-corrects to tankers. How poetic.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of that Tampa/New York game, when Dan Johnson was at the plate, I was watching the game on my iPad with app. For every game you watch, you can choose if you want to view video feed of the home or away team. I chose the Rays feed. It did a couple quick shots of the Rays dugout, showing the dejected look on their player’s faces; one strike away from almost, but not quite completing their improbable comeback and finalizing the subsequent Red Sox collapse. I felt a tinge of sadness for them. The feeling of your baseball season ending is never pleasant, it is a feeling of... ‘I just wasted so much time for nothing.’ There was a pain in my heart for what they were about to go through. (In the writing business, we call the previous sentence f-o-r-s-h-a-d-o-w-i-n-g).

No need to get in to the messy details. If you want to re-live it, Bill Simmons did a running diary of the game found here. I will share a small excerpt of that article which perfectly describes the Red Sox unbelievable and never-in-the-history-of-baseball collapse, in which he closed by writing:

“They [the Red Sox] blew basic baseball plays, botched fly balls, dropped relay throws, ended games by getting caught stealing, threw meatballs, bitched at each other, admitted to being scared … you name it, they did it. They choked away Game 162 by getting three guys thrown out on the basepaths, by blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth, by botching a season-deciding fly ball, by letting Chris Davis, Nolan Reimold and Robert Andino beat them with two outs in the ninth. You can't say it was unbelievable, because, actually, it was totally believable.”

In regards to talking about the Red Sox 2011 season, and it’s ending—and to quote Forrest Gump—“That’s all I have to say about that.” But I do have a few things to say, elsewhere.

To start, lets talk about a game we all love, Words with Friends, and it’s social problems. Lately I cannot get enough of it, but there are too many gray areas involved that lack etiquette guidelines.

The most glaring of these is the whole post-game, do I say, “yes I want a rematch” if I beat you, or do I decline and let you decide that? Or when I get on my phone and I have a notification that says I just lost, of course I want a rematch, but did you already start one because you found out that you beat me, before I did? What the hell is happening? I do not know what to do. Nobody does. I cannot tell you, how many multiple games I have going on right now with the same person because of this exact problem. I have four different games going on right now between myself and my sister-in-law. It needs to stop. With so many duplicate games, nobody knows which game to be the more emotionally invested in. We need to fix this.

Words with Friends (WWF) and the cause and effect ripple of the Cheats with Friends (CWF) users. Look, we all know the difference between trying letter combinations to get that triple letter or triple word and because of this you “find” a word and the difference between people who go straight for the CWF. The CWF user problem is affecting the non-users, because the non-users remember these bogus words. I am one of those people. If I am in a game and someone plays a random word that seems totally fishy, I am certainly going to try and use that word down the road.

A prime example is the word: oxyacids. I played this word against my wife a week ago because some CWF player (you know who you are) added the ‘oxy’ when I played the word ‘acids’. My own brother refuses to play WWF with me because he thinks I cheated by playing random words I learned in other games, like ‘rotgut’. Stop using Cheats with Friends people, because you are inadvertently making me look like a cheater.

Do not start a game with a three-letter word. Especially a three-letter words that cannot be turned in to a longer word. Words like “but”, “can”, “bit”, and “fin”—those words are fine. They can all be turned in to butter, cantor, bitten, and finish. I am talking about words like “hah” and “biz”. What the freak are you trying to do to the board? Just do a tile swap. The game has not started yet; there is not a huge advantage to be had by being the person to start the game. There certainly is not an advantage to playing “hah”. Nobody knows how to build on that, and those that do, use Cheats with Friends. You add to the problem and not the solution.

The whole “should I” or “should I not” start a game with you because we are Facebook friends? Nobody knows what to do. We all have friends on Facebook that we have added or they have added us because the two of you went to the same high school or took the same class in college. You never actually hung out with this person. Maybe you have been to a couple of the same parties, but there were 15+ people at this party, so you were not forced to interact them. I am talking about the people that you never write on each other’s wall or message or anything like that, and you would feel weird if you wrote on their wall for their birthday. The only reason you added or accepted said person because

A) you know their face or had a class project with them, and;
B) all you really want out of the Facebook friendship is the luxury of being able to stalk them on the off chance that they should they ever get married/divorced, do something crazy, get fat or get hot, put up super skanky Halloween pictures, suddenly invent something and get mega rich, compete on reality TV, or become famous.

We are all just a bunch people gamblers, playing the numbers, waiting for some ish to go down. Period. My question is this: because we are not friends—or what friends should be—is it weird if I start a WWF game with you because all the other people that I play with on a regular basis are being lazy and not updating our games? I merely need to get my WWF nicotine fix, OK. I am not trying to stalk you, I just want to play some damn words already. We need to determine if this is a line that is copasetic to cross.


In an attempt to add order to the world of WWF and right the ship, the writing team at HITS has come up with the following guidelines and rules:

1) If you win a game and the program prompts you start a re-match, decline. The person you just beat, is going to get the same message. Let them say yes, and play first. Perhaps the think you cheated a bunch and do not want to play you again. Which brings us to rule two;
2) Stop using Cheats with Friends. If you really do know an ambiguous word, then use the message feature, and drop a clarifying line the person you are playing. Same thing goes for you, if you think, they cheated.
3) Do not play, short, dead-end words to start any game. Swap tiles. This is the only time that you should ever feel obligated to open the board up.
4) HITS writers are making an executive decision on this one. Start a game with anyone and everyone. Who cares? We need to burst out of our shy, voyeuristic tendencies. If someone starts a game a game with you, it is not because they love you. The want to get their words on, and that is all.

In closing, I just want to say that I love my Boston Red Sox no matter how they may historically screw themselves. Going in to the month of September, the Sox had a 99.6% chance of making the playoffs, and now they are sitting on the couch just like me. I still love them and I still love baseball.

Predictions: Whoever wins the D-Backs/Brewers series is your World Series Champion. If not them, anyone but New York.

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