Last night I was at my favorite watering hole, Professor Thom's, to watch the first and only spring training meeting of the year between the Red Sox and Yankees. The game was pretty much uneventful, although it was the first game that Johnny Damon played against his former teammates. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. In his every at-bat, you could hear someone in the bar yell out "Judas" at him (get used to it Johnny, you're going to hear that a lot this year). Red Sox "new boy" (to borrow an English soccer term) Wily Mo Pena hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat, after striking out (and looking badly in the process) in his first. Those two at-bats might be Wily Mo's season in a nutshell. Adam Stern continued his torrid spring hitting, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer. I can't see how the Red Sox can possibly send him down to Pawtucket in April. Jonathan Papelbon pitched five innings but looked rather erratic, as he didn't spot his fastball well, and gave up a homer to Bernie Williams. The Yankees won, 5-4, on a late home run, but as long as no Red Sox players got hurt, it's no big deal. The Red Sox and Yankees meet for real for the first time on May 1 at Fenway Park.
The more memorable part of the night came after the game. It was Bingo Night at Professor Thom's, and I hung around for it with a number of my friends. I haven't played bingo in about 25 years at least. My luck wasn't very good the first few games, as I came nowhere close to winning. But my luck turned in the fourth game, and on "B5", I won! My friend Jim the bartender gave out prizes to the winner, and mine was a "DAB LOW CARB" t-shirt. (It's a German beer that I've never had.) But it was free and I love t-shirts so I was happy. I was then determined to repeat as the bingo champion, and in the next game, on "B6", I won again, along with my friend Pat, who also got "bingo" at the same time I did. We both got a hat, this time with another obscure beer company logo on it. I have so many hats that I gave it to my friend Kim, who was thrilled to have it and looked good wearing it too. (Kim would look good wearing ANY kind of hat!)
At that point I decided not to press my luck and decided to quit while I was ahead. Winning at bingo reminded me of my Aunt Katherine, who's 91 years old and living in Florida. My mom affectionately calls her "Auntie Bingo." The game of bingo is her life, and I couldn't help but think her winning bingo vibe was going through me last night.
Those wins were for you, Auntie Bingo.