It’s an 11-0 game, and the good guys are on the short end of the stick. Only a quarter of the sellout crowd at Angel Stadium remains, if that. A couple of hours and a $7 bratwurst ago, there was a raucous 43,000+. No more. My friend Roger has joined the departed masses, but I don’t blame him. Jet lag is still killing both of us, but he’s the one working the 9-5. He’s the one with the 30 mile drive back to Los Angeles, twice the length of my return to the friendly confines of UCI. And the team is his, I daresay, only by osmosis. I stay, despite the lopsided affair, the exhaustion, and the modest but steady winds. Because it’s the home opener. Because it’s the weekend. Because that’s what a fan would do. But there’s also a part of me that really, truly believes. I keep thinking about that amazing comeback by the Indians a few years ago, even as the details of that anomalous outcome escape me. And the truth of it is that there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Even at 11-0. And after Hunter singles, and G.A. doubles, and the Angels put a couple of runs on the board in the last of the ninth, that hope I have really begins to fester. My mind wanders, and I glance at the big screen, checking to see who will be batting four or five spots down. We have the power of the rally monkey, after all. Of course, it doesn’t quite happen. It is an 11-run deficit, ultimately, and the game ends with Texas holding on, 11-6. I trudge back to my car, alone, disappointed though somewhat reassured. And I’m startled by several loud bangs. The Friday night fireworks, shooting off majestically into the sky. The 2008 home opener will go down as a loss, but it really wasn’t that much of one for me. It’s a beautiful night. It’s a long baseball season. For that, I’m thankful.