Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Monday, October 9, 2006


I used to have great memories of October. In grade school, there was the Feast of the Guardian Angels and that meant there was a carnival on the school grounds and that we had no classes (more so later in college as we had those badly needed sembreaks). There was the October medal that we wore as a sign of our devotion to Our Lady. October also meant that Halloween was around the corner and we could go trick or treating. Back in our history class, we studied about Red October and the Cuban Missile Crisis (that took place on… you guessed right, this month). It’s also the title of U2’s second and only lame duck album who’s only contribution to their canon is the rousing “Gloria.” When I lived in America, it also meant that there was Colombus Day (although the only Italian in me was my predilection towards the Sopranos, Joe DiMaggio, pizza at Ray’s in Greenwich Village, and Juventus). While living in Princeton, New Jersey, I would walk around the campus late in the afternoon and watch the crystalline sheen on the buildings and window panes as the fast-fading sunlight bore the hint of another winter chill to come.

But October also meant the end to two sporting events that I have followed for the longest time. There was the UAAP Finals and the World Series. I’m still reeling and somewhat broken over the Blue Eagles’ loss in the just concluded Finals with UST Growling Tigers. I’ve written about it (in as a means for catharsis for those feeling blue. I’m hardly over the emotional letdown of collegiate basketball when there’s going to be no Fall Classic for me. It’s dour as dour can be as my beloved New York Yankees have been eliminated in the Divisional Series by the Detroit Tigers. Aura and mystique have definitely left the building for the Yankees. Hmm. There must be a conspiracy here as my two favorite teams have been eliminated by Tigers. Is this a sign that I must ditch my Aeropostale for Le Tigre?

October is a time for me to partake in the rituals that my father and my uncles underwent as they were spoiled by players like Ed Ocampo, Felix Flores, and Steve Watson who carved out their deeds on the hardcourt. I had my share too back in my college days when Jun Reyes and Danny Francisco led Ateneo to back-to-back titles in the late 80’s and later on as an alumnus in the stands when Enrico Villanueva and company led the Blue Eagles back to the throne after 14 long years.

October is also my chance now that I’m grown and can afford to make my then-almost weekly pilgrimage to that cathedral in the Bronx called Yankee Stadium. I grew up reading of Pinstripe Pride in the pages of the Sporting News’ almanac. The Bronx Bombers and the Murderer’s Row I was mesmerized when reading those precious and large Life magazines that my grandparents saved for me (I have the original issues that dealt with the assassination of JFK and Apollo 11) where my vision of greatness was #7 Mickey Mantle who swung mightily and majestically even when he struck out.

One of my best Octobers ever was seeing Aaron Boone smack that dinger all the way into the left field of the Stadium to send the Yankees into the World Series (where they eventually lost to the Florida Marlins) in 2003. It was freezing that night but when my friends and I (along with thousands of others) spilled onto 161 Street in a late night street party. We were so pumped up that we nearly walked all the way back to Manhattan (we only got as far as two blocks then we realized that it was utter madness to do so and hopped on the 4 train instead).

People have asked me about my love for baseball which they perceive to be a boring sport. The action they say, is few and far in between. Baseball, they derisively say, induces more yawns than runs in a ballgame that can last anywhere from three hours to the wee hours of the morn. Perhaps aside from basketball and American football, no other sport is more meticulous, scientific, and calculating. Baseball is one of the last bastions of tradition not invaded by the pitfalls of self-expression and thug-a-nomics. And the only other sport just as celebrated in prose and song is basketball.

So the Blue Eagles and the Yankees have been defeated and I’m left to reminisce and wax sentimental about this time of the year that has given me plenty of memories. It’s hard being a sports fan when your team isn’t winning.

For me, these Octobers mean no more sembreaks (as I have been long since out of school) and the trick or treating is now done my kids. I no longer watch the Sopranos and now that I’m back home, Ray’s in Greenwich has been supplanted by Aria in Boracay as my fave in cuccina Italianna. Instead of the magical and somber weather right out of an Ernest Hemingway novel, we’ve got the alternating rain and havoc of typhoon season and the searing humidity of global warming gone bad. The one constant now in this month is the sporting events that have been both heart-stopping and heartbreaking.

Well at least December and Christmas are just around the corner. I could use a little Holiday cheer.

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