The downward spiral hastened. Things grew so bad that I'd drive into North Philadelphia once, twice, three times a day, hoping to score a better wireless connection. I was lucky. If I'd wandered anywhere near a doughnut shop, I'd probably be in jail today.
I'm hooked real bad. I've got to get the Phillies lineup tweeted to me three hours before a game. God forbid I not know well in advance whether Carlos Ruiz will be going 0 for 4 from the seventh or eighth spot.
If Mike Zagurski gets recalled, if Jimmy Rollins feels a pregame twinge, if Raul Ibanez discovers where he misplaced his bat speed, I've got to find a TV quick to hear it all instantly dissected on one of those pregame shows that have employed more marginal baseball talent than Ed Wade.
Sometimes a couple of good, strong facts will satisfy me. But lately I need more. I've begun stealing Phillies opinion from harried beat writers, sun-deprived bloggers, even - forgive me, Jesus - sports-radio hosts.
By the time the TV broadcast starts, I'm whacked out in my family room, trying not to nod off until I see what kind of hat Sarge is wearing.
Sometimes, when I'm really bad off, I'll be watching on TV and simultaneously following on radio (over-the-air and satellite) and via Internet streams. I recently heard myself telling my dear wife that Cliff Lee drives a Holman Ford because the dealership exhibits the same kind of integrity as the Phillies.
I can't help it; my fix requires more than balls and strikes. I've become dependent on the ballpark cameras and microphones that pick up every extraneous detail, from foul balls to foul words.
I TiVo games, both the live telecasts and the 2 a.m. replays. That way I'm sure never to miss it when someone is "Safe and secure at second."
Technology has enabled my addiction.
I know that if I miss anything, I can rewind, or check my Twitter feed, my Facebook page, or any of those Internet locales where anonymous Phillies experts hover like blackhead flies.
It's only getting worse. When the games end, I call up online newspaper stories, listen to the radio recap, the postgame scoreboard, then a Phillies talk show in which callers phone in questions such as, "Why doesn't Amaro package Zagurski and Danys Baez for Albert Pujols?"
I've tried quitting cold turkey. But at 4 a.m. I awake in an anxious lather, frantic that I might have missed the one game each season when Chase Utley smiles or Ryan Howard gets a single to left.
People tell me I can't start getting better until I hit bottom. I'm not sure how I'll know. But if you ever catch me watching Rhea Hughes' daytime TV show, please dial 911 immediately.
He's down two hat sizes
Terrell Owens underwent an operation this week to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
While the NFL star was on the table, surgeons also cleaned up some loose cartilage, repaired an old ankle injury, and performed an ego tuck.
Golly gee, Hines
As if we needed further reminders that Pittsburgh is far more Midwestern than Northeastern in its civic outlook, consider that the Steel City will host a rally Thursday to honor Steelers wideout Hines Ward for his victory on Dancing with the Stars.
No word yet on how many are expected, but the crowd likely will surpass the gathering for Pittsburgh's annual Salute to Nice People.
If I was writing headlines
On the Dodgers bankruptcy: "(Los) Angeles Ashes by Frank McCourt."
What, no fascinator?
Tennis' Bethanie Mattek-Sands showed up for her match at Wimbledon wearing black face paint beneath her eyes, a fringed biker jacket adorned with white tennis balls, knee-high socks, and a one-sleeved dress - and immediately was mistaken for one of Prince Andrew's daughters.
Giving 'Em Fitz: NASCAR Note Of the Week
This really happened. I did an Internet search for a NASCAR chat room and was directed to one for those suffering from bipolar disorder.
Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @philafitz or on his blog, "Giving 'em Fitz."