Game 46 // Seventh Inning, St. Pete // Starlin Light, Starlin Bright

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: YANKEES 2 (0) – 1 RAYS

 

Jake Odorizzi is throwing a no-hitter. Six innings on the books. His last name appears to be Rougned Odor’s rap name. Drizzy. Weezy. Odorizzi.

The cowbells are at full clang inside the Trop, locked in tight battle with a strong New York contingent, chanting Continue reading “Game 46 // Seventh Inning, St. Pete // Starlin Light, Starlin Bright”

Game 45 // Ninth Inning, Kansas City // Royals Rally, Rally, Rally, Rally

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: WHITE SOX 7 – (1) 8 ROYALS

 

A tale of two images. Heaven flipped into hell. A win into a loss. Agony. The innocence of childhood sports fandom gone. Disbelief. Hawk Harrelson in the White Sox’ TV booth near tears. Likely punching a hole in the press-box wall. Screaming. Vomiting. Exasperated. A minutes-long bleep of censored profanity. To channel my college professors, what the Greeks called peripeteia: a sudden turn of events or unexpected reversal of circumstances. Continue reading “Game 45 // Ninth Inning, Kansas City // Royals Rally, Rally, Rally, Rally”

Game 44 // Ninth Inning, New York // Granderson at the Bat

 // Sketch contributor: Henry Gustavson

 

TOP OF THE NINTH: METS 5 – (1) 4 DODGERS

 

The ghosts of the 1986 Mets are alive and well tonight at Shea Stadium Citi Field, with a big home run from what looks to be Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden on the mound to close things out.

The digits 1 9 8 6 are printed in blue and orange on the infield grass, ahead of both dugouts, Continue reading “Game 44 // Ninth Inning, New York // Granderson at the Bat”

Game 43 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // Home of the Freese

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH: PIRATES 5 (1) – 4 DIAMONDBACKS

 

Roses are red, Pirates are yellow, what the hell color are the Diamondbacks wearing?

They’ve got black lettering, charcoal gray fabric, and a black snakeskin pattern around the ankles that blends with black cleats as if they’ve been Continue reading “Game 43 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // Home of the Freese”

Game 42 // Third Inning, Chicago // Homecoming, Juan Uribe

TOP OF THE THIRD: INDIANS 3 (0) – 1 WHITE SOX

 

A statue of a leaping, striving, stretching shortstop careening into the annals of World Series history, White Sox glory—the iconic first out of a trophy-winning ninth inning in Houston.

Reanimated, shaking off the bronze coating, scrubbing off the rust, stepping out of the championship pavilion and back into the batter’s box Continue reading “Game 42 // Third Inning, Chicago // Homecoming, Juan Uribe”

Game 41 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // Pence to Kemp, Glitch in the Outfield

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: GIANTS 1 (0) – 0 PADRES

 

Johnny Cueto has just pitched a career-best game. He’s in the dugout, hat off, arms on the padded green railing, an orange and black skull cap stretched over his long dreadlocks, awaiting the slim chance of a win to be added to his season record. It’s nothing-nothing, a stalemate of a game, and Continue reading “Game 41 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // Pence to Kemp, Glitch in the Outfield”

Game 40 // Eleventh Inning, San Diego // Padres Walk, Walk, Walk It Off

BOTTOM OF THE ELEVENTH: PADRES 3 (2) – 2 DODGERS

 

It’s a late night out on the west coast, in the far southwest corner of California, with the fans chanting “Beat L-A!! Beat L-A!!” and the game tied up in the bottom of the 11th inning. There’s a rust-colored tuft of mullet protruding from the blue cap of Dodger pitcher Chin-hui Tsao, coming in for just his second mound appearance of the season.

A week ago, he was in AAA-ball. Two years ago he was running a beef-noodle soup restaurant in Hualien City, Taiwan. Continue reading “Game 40 // Eleventh Inning, San Diego // Padres Walk, Walk, Walk It Off”

Game 39 // Eighth Inning, St. Louis // Quadruple to Hazelbaker

TOP OF THE EIGHTH: DIAMONDBACKS 9 (4) – 2 CARDINALS

 

I check the MLB Gameday feed and see this in the 8th inning: Single to center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. Below that: Single to center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. Again: Single to center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. And for the coup de grâce, the quadruple-stacked burger of cardinal meat, there’s a fourth update: Single to center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker.

Has this happened before? It must be approaching some kind of Continue reading “Game 39 // Eighth Inning, St. Louis // Quadruple to Hazelbaker”

Game 38 // Fourth Inning, St. Louis // Cardinals Top the Rockies

TOP OF THE FOURTH: CARDINALS 4 – (2) 6 ROCKIES

 

It’s an odd combination of color at Busch Stadium, with the deep purple of Colorado at the plate and the bright red of St. Louis on the mound—on the cap, the glove, the shoes, the belt, the two small birds stitched into the chest of every jersey. Continue reading “Game 38 // Fourth Inning, St. Louis // Cardinals Top the Rockies”

Game 37 // Ninth Inning, Oakland // Khris Davis for Three

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: ATHLETICS 8 (4) – 5 RANGERS

 

Not that Chris Davis. The other one. Crush Khrush Davis. The ex-Brewer, the Oakland Athletic. Khris Davis.

He hit three home-runs on one balmy Oakland night, one for the win, two for the early lead and then the tie. Continue reading “Game 37 // Ninth Inning, Oakland // Khris Davis for Three”

Game 36 // Eighth Inning, Arlington // Bautista, Odor, and the Scoreless Big Inning

TOP OF THE EIGHTH: RANGERS 7 – 6 BLUE JAYS

 

The fans at Globe Life Park are chanting USA! USA! USA!! Jose Bautista is being hugged from behind, for over five minutes, by Adrian Beltre. The dugouts are empty. The bullpens are empty. Kevin Pillar is running around like a bull in a stampede.

It was the biggest inning all week, and it was scoreless. Continue reading “Game 36 // Eighth Inning, Arlington // Bautista, Odor, and the Scoreless Big Inning”

Game 35 // Ninth Inning, Seattle // Pujols Wins It

TOP OF THE NINTH: ANGELS 9 (6) – 7 MARINERS

 

With one swing of the bat, Albert Pujols became the one-man big inning. He took the Angels from 7-6 down to 9-7 up—with a single hit far bigger than any whole inning prior—continuing his legacy as the last guy you’d want to pitch to with a game on the line, no matter his age, no matter his recent stats. The guy who was considered one of the best all-time, in St. Louis, who’d fallen off some in recent years.

He’s still got it. Continue reading “Game 35 // Ninth Inning, Seattle // Pujols Wins It”

Game 34 // Fifth Inning, Chicago // David Ross, Forever Young

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTH: CUBS 8 (3) – 0 PIRATES

 

David Wade Ross turned thirty-nine years old on March 13th. He’s played in over 800 games. He has over 100 gray hairs bespeckling his beard. And in a sunny, afternoon game against the Pirates, in the fifth inning, he hit career home run number 99—into the reaching hands of a dozen Cubs fans, shirtless and drunk with the dream of a winning team at Wrigley finally alive. Continue reading “Game 34 // Fifth Inning, Chicago // David Ross, Forever Young”

Game 33 // Seventh Inning, Baltimore // Triple Schoop

BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: ORIOLES 7 (2) – 5 TIGERS

 

It’s rally time at Camden Yards, with the Orioles down three and the crowd chanting the “Seven Nation Army” bass-line refrain: “Ohhhh, oh-oh-oh-ohhhh, ohhhhh…”  They roar out in repeated rounds, batter after batter, until the Tigers give in—hypnotized into a five-run seventh inning. Continue reading “Game 33 // Seventh Inning, Baltimore // Triple Schoop”

Game 32 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Padres Win in Wrigley Fog

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: PADRES 6 (2) – 4 CUBS

 

The fog is rolling in thick at Wrigley Field, with the Padres batting and my dad quoting Carl Sandburg: “The fog comes on little cat feet. // It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.” Continue reading “Game 32 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Padres Win in Wrigley Fog”