[This post was written by John Ring, who is the Nation's correspondent from Afghanistan, where he is serving the entire nation.]
Today was truly a milestone day here in Kabul.
On the Air Force Network (AFN), the Reds-Cardinals game was being replayed. The game had concluded in St. Louis about 7am Kabul time. And I found out on Chad Dotson’s Titanic Struggle Recap on Redleg Nation that the Reds and Bronson Arroyo had lost 2-1 shortly after that.
But on my way out to the Afghan compound, the television set showed Joey Votto striding to the plate. AFN was replaying the game. It was the 9th inning. And Joey struck out, even though he looks good with the red socks. Even though I knew the Reds were going to ultimately lose, I stood there and watched Brandon Phillips strike out, too.
And then Jay Bruce came to the plate.
My first Reds action this season and I didn’t see Latos, I didn’t see Tony Cingrani, I didn’t see Mr. 106. I didn’t even see Dusty and his toothpick. I watched Bruce strike out and the Cardinals win.
So there it is. Three Reds strikeouts in a row.
Today I gave the Afghan firefighters a class on the Incident Command System— how the senior firefighter takes command, makes the tough decisions and chooses which kind of firefighting strategy to use at a structural or aircraft incident. (I swear to God, Dusty Baker crossed my mind a few times.) I kept this class at a very basic level
because, well, that’s where these guys are.
After the class was over, a couple of the firefighters said that I didn’t appear to be my usual cheerful self. I didn’t tell them it was because the Reds stagnant offense ruined a nice pitching performance by Arroyo or that Mr. 106 pitched just one inning in a four game series against the Nationals or that the Reds leftfield situation is a quagmire.
And I didn’t tell them that Bruce is in a bad slump or that the Reds minor league system seems barren of outfielders or that they called up a 37-year old catcher who will be a fine coach or manager someday but doesn’t really fit on a pennant contending roster.
No, I just muttered something about being tired and that I need to work out more often. Baseball isn’t a high priority for them here when just surviving day to day is. Their favorite sports are soccer, volleyball and the game Stallone won with the sheep carcass when riding a horse in Rambo III. True story—when in Jalalabad, a firefighter
was speaking to me in somewhat broken English. I asked him how he learned it. “By watching television and movies” he said. I asked him what movies he watched. “Rambo and Chock Norris.” (He meant to say, “Chuck” I am assuming.)
Anyway, I’ll catch the Reds at GABP in July when the Mariners are in town. And by the ninth inning, I’ll be pretty numb so if the Reds lose, it won’t hurt so much. Speaking of which, help me out Reds fans—how is the new Budweiser Bar in the Moon Deck? Please give me some feedback so I can look forward to another trip to the ballpark.