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”

Game 101 // First Inning, Philadelphia // Worst Birthday in Baseball History: The End of The Jeremy Guthrie Era

BOTTOM OF THE FIRST: PHILLIES 12 (0) – 0 NATIONALS

 

It’ll happen to them all someday. The knees creak, the vision dims. The fastball speed drops below 90, the run to first base slows down. The baseball death knell marks the end of a career.

But not like this. Not ever like this. On his birthday?

Baseball death on April 8th, 2017. Goodbye, Mr. Jeremy Guthrie. Continue reading “Game 101 // First Inning, Philadelphia // Worst Birthday in Baseball History: The End of The Jeremy Guthrie Era”

Bryant Throw Final Out seven

Game 100 // Tenth Inning, Cleveland // You Can Only End the Drought With a Little Rain, Or: How You Learned to Stop Worrying and Witness the Greatest Game in a Century (A Treatise on Heaven)

There’s almost a certain sadness to it all. Winning, against two lifetimes of failure. Peering out through the morning fog of the battlefield, seeing an arch-enemy finally downed. Shot, and stabbed, crying out and writhing—its innards eviscerated, a row of knives sticking up from its back.

You start to feel mercy—what did that poor Billy Goat ever do to deserve this?

Can we at least wish it a happy goodbye?

There’s a sadness to it all, in the end. In the end. The end. The most heartbreaking book you’ve ever read—but ending? You never told the author you’d wanted an ending. Not for real. Continue reading “Game 100 // Tenth Inning, Cleveland // You Can Only End the Drought With a Little Rain, Or: How You Learned to Stop Worrying and Witness the Greatest Game in a Century (A Treatise on Heaven)”

Game 99 // Third Inning, Cleveland // A Ball Off the Bat of Addison Russell

TOP OF THE THIRD: CUBS 7 (3) – 0 INDIANS

 

You’d be wise, not to blow all your smiles on a Game Six. You might not want to shout. Keep the champagne corked. Leave some green in your wallet. Don’t hug all your neighbors. Don’t profess new faith in the gods. Not yet.

Don’t jump in your seat so much your soles wear down. Don’t start a brawl with the Cleveland legion. When the Cubs win, don’t unbuckle your belt, and drop trow in the aisle. Don’t hop the dugout roof and don’t run streaking onto the field. Don’t end up buck naked overnight in a Cleveland holding cell. Keep some minimum of your clothes on. Keep your wits about you. You might need them for tomorrow.

Continue reading “Game 99 // Third Inning, Cleveland // A Ball Off the Bat of Addison Russell”

Jason Kipnis Dagger Home Run

Game 98 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Falling Down

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: INDIANS 7 (4) – 1 CUBS

  

With no outs: Coco Crisp doubles to center. Rajai Davis hit by a pitch. Jason Kipnis sends a three-run homer soaring into the bleachers in right. The score’s 7-1.

Things. Go. Quiet. Your head falls into your lap. You close your eyes.

 

IN A DREAM—YOU ENTER WHAMMY BURGER, APPROACH THE COUNTER.

 

Sheila: Hi, can I help you?

YOU: Yes, I’d like a two-run single and a rally starter.

Sheila: I’m sorry, we’ve stopped serving Cubs but we are on the Indians menu now.

YOU: But I want offense.

Sheila: You can’t have it, we’re not serving it.

YOU: So you said. Is that the manager?

Sheila: (sighs) Yeah.

YOU: Could I speak to him please? Continue reading “Game 98 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Falling Down”

Cleveland Chicago 2016 Game One 1

Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While

WORLD SERIES 2016: GAME ONE


 

There’s an old saying by Cub fans, repeated over the land, that goes: “Oh my god—we’re in the World Series? The World Series!?”

Old, so old, as old as three unreal, brave-new-world days. When those words burst into the talk, pinging around at full speed, fan to ecstatic fan. Appearing one day in bold, drawn big onto the great Cub-fan blackboard in the sky, erasing all others in one big swipe—“Wait ‘til next year…” chalked away into a smudge. Continue reading “Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While”