Game 58 // Ninth Inning, New York // Yankee Didi Dandy

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: YANKEES 9 (3) – 7 RANGERS

 

“Pain is inevitable,” said Haruki Murakami, the great Japanese novelist. “Suffering is optional.”

The Yankees are no longer the Yankees Yankees. Pour one out. The Red Sox are in first place. Gone are the days of the sure-thing AL East crown for New York, with all other comers fighting for a Wild Card spot. Gone are the days of Jeter, Rivera, Continue reading “Game 58 // Ninth Inning, New York // Yankee Didi Dandy”

Game 57 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // The Day the Indians Soared

TOP OF THE FIFTH: INDIANS 8 (2) – 2 TIGERS

 

Left, right, left, right—a pinball-esque onslaught of baseballs soaring into the outfield stands of Comerica Park, unlocking bonus rounds and score multipliers, and it’s nine straight wins stacked up, reeled in, strung together, for the first-place Cleveland Indians, on their way to the top of the A.L. heap. Continue reading “Game 57 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // The Day the Indians Soared”

Game 56 // Fifth Inning, Baltimore // A Tale of Two Reviews

TOP OF THE FIFTH: ORIOLES 3 – 2 PADRES

 

The umpires assemble. The headsets wrap around the heads. And the previous play, for as many times as necessary, repeats on a loop at the MLB replay center in New York, debates pinging back and forth through the line, all camera angles stitch together the evidence—with players waiting, managers waiting, fans waiting, for the chance at a revision of luck, a change of fortune, a foul ball turned fair. Continue reading “Game 56 // Fifth Inning, Baltimore // A Tale of Two Reviews”

Game 55 // Twelfth Inning, Washington // The Werth Speech

 // Sketch by Henry Gustavson

TOP OF THE TWELFTH: CUBS 4 (3) – 3 NATIONALS

 

The Cubs are tied with the Nationals in the 12th inning, I hear a nasally, lone “Let’s go Cubbiess…” from one of the crowd mics, and I’m instantly reminded of the old days, the dark days, the lean years—of my own voice pouring out weakly over the Wrigley stands, a few Continue reading “Game 55 // Twelfth Inning, Washington // The Werth Speech”

Game 54 // Third Inning, San Diego // Ichiro The Great

TOP OF THE THIRD: MARLINS 8 (1) – 1 PADRES

 

Ichiro Suzuki is up to bat, 2,974 career hits to his name, and somewhere over the night sky of America is the grumbling, cursing echo of Pete Rose, throwing household objects at the TV set, cancelling all newspaper subscriptions, wondering what went wrong with the baseball youth of today—What about me? Mr. 4,256? Anyone?? Continue reading “Game 54 // Third Inning, San Diego // Ichiro The Great”

Game 53 // First Inning, San Francisco // The Cueto Shimmy

TOP OF THE FIRST: DODGERS 2 (0) – 0 GIANTS

 

The end of an era. Sammy Sosa called out for his corked bats. George Brett tossed for pine tar. And now Johnny Cueto, long-time master of the shimmy, baseball deception’s stylish king of the hill—shoulder-shaking, pelvis-wobbling, neck-bobbling trickery stopped in its tracks with the rules finally catching up to him—“You’ve had enough,” the umpires said, “no more shimmies, no more fun.”
Continue reading “Game 53 // First Inning, San Francisco // The Cueto Shimmy”

Game 52 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // Votto Time

 // Sketch by Henry Gustavson

 

TOP OF THE NINTH: REDS 6 – (4) 6 CARDINALS

 

The Cardinals strike back. As always, as dreaded, as anticipated (by now) every time an NL Central tenant finds themselves with a lead.

And the red-faced Reds, a late-game lead vanished, looking up at Continue reading “Game 52 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // Votto Time”

Game 50 // First Inning, Houston // Lift-Off Astros

BOTTOM OF THE FIRST: ASTROS 7 (0) – 0 ATHLETICS

 

The Oakland A’s have their forest green tops, bright yellow shirt seams. Three matching stripes on the socks, a horizontal burst of gold. And the Houston Astros with their recent redesign, bright orange tops and a navy helmet throwing back to the Colt ‘45s.

Packers against the Broncos. Oregon against Boise State. Norwich City F.C. against… Montpellier F.C. And I’m out of references, sinking on a quick decline into sports obscurity. Continue reading “Game 50 // First Inning, Houston // Lift-Off Astros”

Game 49 // Seventh Inning, San Diego // Mariners Run Wild

BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: MARINERS 16 (7) – 12 PADRES

 

It’s the battle of the continental geographic corners: far northwest against far southwest. Seattle against San Diego. Get Miami in the ring and all we’ll then need is…checks Google Maps… Caribou, Maine—and we’ll have sport’s newest four-way tournament set to go. Continue reading “Game 49 // Seventh Inning, San Diego // Mariners Run Wild”

Game 48 // Ninth Inning, Atlanta // Giants Gone Wild

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: BRAVES 4 (3) – 4 GIANTS

 

Knowing very little about the 2016 Atlanta Braves, I do a little searching and find what looks like a murder scene, red streaks dripping down a wall in long, pitiful rows. The wins and losses of each MLB team, on Baseball Reference, are arranged by color (green or red) and by degree (height or depth) and, well, if the first-place Cubs are like a forest canopy of tall green trees, the Braves are a teeming collection of underground worms, tunneling deeper than even they know how. Continue reading “Game 48 // Ninth Inning, Atlanta // Giants Gone Wild”

Game 47 // Seventh Inning, Toronto // The Darwin Barney Game

BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: BLUE JAYS 4 (1) – 1 YANKEES

 

It’s yet another classic hit from the greatest of this baseball generation, leaping and bounding his way through the record books, into the hearts of fans, his face on every billboard across Canada—the one, the only… Darwin … Barney?

He’s (at best) the fourth best known Barney in recent history, behind Continue reading “Game 47 // Seventh Inning, Toronto // The Darwin Barney Game”