Game 116 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // THE STREAK, IT LIVES!!

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: INDIANS 2 (1) – 2 ROYALS

 

The streak. It lives. 22 games. In a row. It lives!

It was down to its last strike, this winding snake of a streak—Francisco Lindor up in the ninth with two outs and a 1-2 count.

And then.

The best Cleveland moment since Rajai Davis, Game 7.

Continue reading “Game 116 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // THE STREAK, IT LIVES!!”

Game 115 // Eighth Inning, Arizona // The LeMahieu Shift

TOP OF THE EIGHTH: ROCKIES 5 (2) – 2 D-BACKS

 

This wasn’t so much an inning as it was a play. A moment. An at-bat.

Specifically…. a shift.

The very weirdest you’ll ever see. Weird. Weird weird. Incredibly weird.

Continue reading “Game 115 // Eighth Inning, Arizona // The LeMahieu Shift”

Game 114 // Seventh Inning, Minnesota // Lorenzo Cain, Check-Swing of the Year

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: ROYALS 5 (3) – 4 TWINS

 

The Wild Card chase is on, folks. The Wild Card chase is on.

The Yankees, the Twins, the Orioles, the Angels, the Mariners, the Royals, the Rangers, the Rays—more than it’s ever been, the chase is on.

And it’s all hanging in the balance, this sunny afternoon in Minnesota… with a check-swing from Lorenzo Cain batting, that just might’ve saved the season.

Continue reading “Game 114 // Seventh Inning, Minnesota // Lorenzo Cain, Check-Swing of the Year”

Game 113 // Tenth Inning, Chicago // Robert Osuna Gone Wild (Welcome to Chicago, Alex Avila)

BOTTOM OF THE TENTH: CUBS 6 (3) – 5 BLUE JAYS

 

Your dad is on the couch. Sat there all afternoon. Took a nap through the middle innings. Day-dreaming of a sweep. Watched the Cubs score three runs, slept, then woke up to see them give up the lead. Tied up.

And then, in the top of the tenth. It’s Justin Wilson. “No!” your dad shouts. “Justin Wilson!?” 

Continue reading “Game 113 // Tenth Inning, Chicago // Robert Osuna Gone Wild (Welcome to Chicago, Alex Avila)”

Dodger Stadium Puig Walkoff

Game 112 // Ninth Inning, Los Angeles // The Yasiel Puig Moment

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: DODGERS 5 (2) – 4 WHITE SOX

 

You turn on the broadcast and there’s a line.

“The home run that Puig hit in Miami on the first day of the second half—a seminal moment of his career.”

Sixty seconds before seminal moment 2.0. So you get to thinking, as Yasiel Puig steps into the box, what’s might be that most seminal of seminal Yasiel Puig moments? Continue reading “Game 112 // Ninth Inning, Los Angeles // The Yasiel Puig Moment”

Grand Slam Oakland Royals 6-2

Game 111 // Sixth Inning, Oakland // Cam Gallagher, You Have Now Arrived

TOP OF THE SIXTH: ROYALS 6 (2) – 1 ATHLETICS

 

Mr. Cam Gallagher, I’m assigning you a mission. You have a job to do.

Start from tonight. Build from here. Create a groundswell, a renown, a name.

Take this game, this inning, and go full throttle toward the headlines. Fame. Household dinner-table fame. Sponsorship deals. All-Star games. Fame. Big fame!

This job will be a tough one. This job is unlikely. This job, after tonight, just became a little bit easier.

Your job is this: Continue reading “Game 111 // Sixth Inning, Oakland // Cam Gallagher, You Have Now Arrived”

Game 110 // Eighth Inning, New York // The Aaron Hicks Game

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: YANKEES 5 (0) – 3 RED SOX

 

It’s August. It’s Yankee Stadium. Boston vs. New York. It’s a soldout ballpark and a hell of a lot on the line.

The Red Sox have won eight straight. The Yankees slipping farther behind by the day, toward that crossroads that says: Accept your Wild Card fate!

Red Sox up 3-0. Four and a half games up in the A.L. East.

And, then, the beginnings of a rally. From the tip of Brett Gardner’s toe, center of Yankee Baseball Universe, for just a moment. Continue reading “Game 110 // Eighth Inning, New York // The Aaron Hicks Game”

Grand Slam Sketch Yadi Cardinals

Game 109 // Sixth Inning, St. Louis // You’re a Wizard, Yadi

BOTTOM OF THE SIXTH: CARDINALS 8 (4) – 5 ROYALS

 

The bottom half of the Yadi inning begins with Yadi.

A replay from the top of the sixth, Molina gloving a fastball skipped on a bounce off the dirt, popping up from his stance, whipping a throw to second base to nail Alcides Escobar trying for a steal.

The cameras focus in on Yadi. Basking in the dugout. Chatting it over with Mike Matheny. Mulling over two options in his head, thinking aloud.

“Should I finally show them…. ?” Continue reading “Game 109 // Sixth Inning, St. Louis // You’re a Wizard, Yadi”

Game 108 // Ninth Inning, Boston // Christian the Redeemer

TOP OF THE NINTH: RED SOX 9 – (8) 10 INDIANS

 

 This last inning at Fenway, grand finale to the Austin Jackson Catch Game.

Which, if you hadn’t seen it… Continue reading “Game 108 // Ninth Inning, Boston // Christian the Redeemer”

Washington Sketch City Diamond

Game 107 // Third Inning, Washington D.C. // The Home Run Pentagon

BOTTOM OF THE THIRD: NATIONALS 9 (2) – 0 BREWERS

 

First of all, I have a conspiracy theory.

Nationals Park, you know those seats behind home plate, that you always see on TV?

They’re not what you think. Continue reading “Game 107 // Third Inning, Washington D.C. // The Home Run Pentagon”

Game 106 // Second Inning, Milwaukee // Snowman in Milwaukee

BOTTOM OF THE SECOND: BREWERS 8 (0) – 2 PHILLIES

 

First game back after the All-Star break.

The Brewers up five games in the NL Central. Their best season since 2011.

Second inning, down two runs, Domingo Santana up to bat—the beginnings of one of those “But Wait There’s More” innings. Continue reading “Game 106 // Second Inning, Milwaukee // Snowman in Milwaukee”

Game 105 // First Inning, Chicago // The Death of the 2017 Chicago Cubs

 TOP OF THE FIRST: PIRATES 10 (0) – 0 CUBS

 

Not yet 1:00pm central time. The sun just at its peak. Fifteen minutes into the first inning at Wrigley, Jon Lester down for the count. Pulled before the first inning ends. The worst of his career.

The world champion Cubs are… the world champion Cubs are… down by 10? It’s the first inning and they—10 runs?

10 runs. 10 runs? Holy cow.

This the end of the Cubs as we know them?

Continue reading “Game 105 // First Inning, Chicago // The Death of the 2017 Chicago Cubs”

Game 104 // Eighth Inning, Houston // The ‘Stros at Night Are Big and Bright…

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: ASTROS 7 (3) – 6 YANKEES

 

Red white and blue uniforms. Fourth of July weekend. Betances on the mound throwing 98mph. Texas and New York. Stars and pinstripes. Baseball, at its very American best. 

And those Houston Astros, in full sprint toward the best record in baseball. Their best season since… have they ever been this good before? Continue reading “Game 104 // Eighth Inning, Houston // The ‘Stros at Night Are Big and Bright…”

Game 103 // Ninth Inning, Kansas City // Here Come the Royals

TOP OF THE NINTH: ROYALS 1 – (2) 4 BLUE JAYS

 

The two teams that rose, in 2015, from the ashes of two down decades. An ALCS for Toronto, a World Series win for Kansas City. And now, sinking down… down… by the law of averages, back to the bottom. Hopskotch jumping between last place and its closest neighbor—with the dream of 2015 a scrapbook piece for history.

But these Royals, these last few weeks. These last few wins. They onto something? Continue reading “Game 103 // Ninth Inning, Kansas City // Here Come the Royals”

Game 102 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // No Miggy, No Problem

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH: TIGERS 16 (7) – 4 MARINERS

 

More runs in a single inning than you’ll see all year—nineteen in the game, nine in the fifth, storming home in front of Detroit’s home faithful. The first warm breeze of almost-summer easing into the ballpark, thinking they might not squander away the Miguel Cabrera years after all. That there may yet be something left.

He’s on the bench, healing, recovering. Watching. Thinking. Trying his best to hope.

Continue reading “Game 102 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // No Miggy, No Problem”