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)”

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)”

Kershaw Save Bullpen NLDS Clayton

Game 96 // Ninth Inning, Washington // A Salute, to Your 2016 L.A. Dodgers

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: DODGERS 4 – 3 NATIONALS

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers of the year 2016. Champions of the N.L. West. Surmounters of the fearful Giants, beaters of the odds, overcomers of the expectations, endurers over the injuries, prudent protectors of the blisters, demoters of the Puig, promoters of the Puig, winking smiling last-laughers over the doubters. Party-throwers for Sir Vin’s last major-league run. Victors, in this last great win, over the Washington Nationals. Continue reading “Game 96 // Ninth Inning, Washington // A Salute, to Your 2016 L.A. Dodgers”

Game 95 // Ninth Inning, Chicago // The Cubbies Win the Pennant

TOP OF THE NINTH: CUBS 5 – 0 DODGERS

 

Chapman on the mound. Hernandez strikes out. Ruiz walks. Puig grounds to short. Russell to Baez to Rizzo. Double play. Cubs win.

*          *          *

What can be said about this game that hasn’t already been said about Christmas morning? Better than that. The first day of a summer break. Better than that. Evening fireworks on the 4th of July. That, too. Better than all. A graduation, an engagement, a marriage, a festival, a celebration. An outdoor fete to anything.

A birthday. Each one of them. For each one of us. Happening at once. Jammed together onto one calendar day. A four-hour party for a whole world of twins, newly made. Smiling the same smiles, unwrapping the same big gift. Sharing matching outfits in blue. Sharing it all. Continue reading “Game 95 // Ninth Inning, Chicago // The Cubbies Win the Pennant”

Game 93 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // The Montero Slam

CUBS 8 – 4 DODGERS


I’m three beers down.

It’s 3:00 AM.

I barely remember the night that was.

The Cubs win that was.

The Miguel Montero grand-slam home run that was.

The bedlam insanity hugfest mad jumping screaming whooping dancing hollering crying smacking yelling wild scene that Wrigley Field was.

Continue reading “Game 93 // Eighth Inning, Chicago // The Montero Slam”

Game 91 // Second Inning, Chicago // Cubs. October. Samardzija. Wrigley.

BOTTOM OF THE SECOND: CUBS 4 (1) – 0 GIANTS

 

Our good friend Jeff Samardzija. Football son of Notre Dame. Chicago Cubs draftee. Starter for the 2015 Chicago White Sox. And finally, finally!, he’s stepped up big for this city. Brought home the big one. Poised atop the mound for playoff baseball, the league-best Cubs at home, at old Wrigley, the fans in eager hope of a deep run, our good friend Jeff Samardzija—stepping up to do his part. Bringing home that win he was drafted for, just like we all hope he would.

Thank you, from the bottom of this Cub fan’s heart, for shitting the bed in Game 2 for these San Francisco Giants. You’re the hero this city deserves. Continue reading “Game 91 // Second Inning, Chicago // Cubs. October. Samardzija. Wrigley.”

Lindor Kipnis Perez Home Runs Sketch

Game 90 // Third Inning, Cleveland // Playoff Baseball in the ‘Land

TOP OF THE THIRD: INDIANS 1 – (1) 2 RED SOX

 

How long has it been…

Since this Indians team knocked off the Boston Braves for a World Series win…

Since Vic Wertz flew out at 420-plus feet, in the deep center field of the Polo Grounds…

Since they lost it to the Braves, since they lost it to the Marlins… Continue reading “Game 90 // Third Inning, Cleveland // Playoff Baseball in the ‘Land”

Game 89 // Eleventh Inning, Toronto // Showalter, Britton, Ubaldo, Walkoff

BOTTOM OF THE ELEVENTH: BLUE JAYS 5 (2) – 2 ORIOLES

 

It’s the eleventh inning of the A.L. Wild Card game. Ubaldo Jimenez steps onto the mound with the 162-game weight of a quavering Orioles season on his back.

“Once upon a time,” says Eddie Johnson, “this guy was unhittable.”

Once upon a time. The long-ago start to a fairy tale ending not so well at all. Continue reading “Game 89 // Eleventh Inning, Toronto // Showalter, Britton, Ubaldo, Walkoff”

Miggy Miguel Montero Sketch 103 Cubs

Game 88 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // The Reds and the Blues

TOP OF THE NINTH: CUBS 7 (3) – 4 REDS

 

Joe Maddon spits onto the dirt outside the dugout, grinning, his fingers spinning as if he’s winding up string. Dave Martinez smiles. Dexter Fowler smiles. Ten-thousand Cub fan maniacs smile, in the stands around them like an invasion has taken place. A handful of blue figurines lurching ahead on a Risk board—taking Kamchatka, Irkutsk, Cincinnati. Continue reading “Game 88 // Ninth Inning, Cincinnati // The Reds and the Blues”

Philadelphia Cespedes Wind First Base Pop

Game 87 // Eighth Inning, Philadelphia // Lost in the Wind

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


TOP OF THE EIGHTH: METS 5 (3) – 1 PHILLIES

 

Coming back from commercial break, the furry green Philly Phanatic is dancing atop the dugout with “Franklin The Dog” of the 76ers, with a baggy gelatinous midsection bouncing down to his ankles and back up to his chest, grabbing it, ruffling it, a man inside a suit handling and shaking the suit’s own ass and blue tail, the fans in front unsure when they’ll be permitted to stop smiling. Its long green snout juts out in front of two plastic eyes, with Continue reading “Game 87 // Eighth Inning, Philadelphia // Lost in the Wind”

Hyun-soo Baltimore Sketch Homer Blue Jays

Game 86 // Ninth Inning, Toronto // Hyun Soo Kim Can

TOP OF THE NINTH: ORIOLES 3 (1) – 2 BLUE JAYS

 

O’s against Osuna, in the top of the ninth. J.J. Hardy at the bat. The standings close, Baltimore back two games in the Wild Card hunt—Tigers and Mariners looking to sneak up for Continue reading “Game 86 // Ninth Inning, Toronto // Hyun Soo Kim Can”

Death Fernandez Boat Sketch Miami

Game 85 // Eighth Inning, Miami // Rest in Peace, Mr. Fernández

Credit to the great Bill Gallo, for inspiration


TOP OF THE EIGHTH: MARLINS 1 – 0 NATIONALS

 

Five days ago, the final game of a career cut short. Eight innings pitched. Zero runs. Zero walks. Twelve strikeouts.

An audience of 17,961—watching the very best baseball of the Miami Marlins. A home run from Giancarlo Stanton. A shut-out. A win over the first-place Nationals. A José Fernández start, a brilliant one at that.

“And José’s into the eighth,” they say as the inning begins, “and he fires a strike.” Continue reading “Game 85 // Eighth Inning, Miami // Rest in Peace, Mr. Fernández”

Detroit Comerica Royals Tigers Hosmer

Game 84 // Ninth Inning, Detroit // The Great Royals’ Final Go

TOP OF THE NINTH: ROYALS 7 (2) – 4 TIGERS

 

They’re on the telecast, this last inning in Detroit, breathing a last gasp of hope for all the remaining audience: “And the Royals are saying, this game ain’t over!”
Continue reading “Game 84 // Ninth Inning, Detroit // The Great Royals’ Final Go”

Walk Off Home Run 9-8 Asdrubal

Game 83 // Eleventh Inning, New York // The Asdrubal Game

TOP OF THE ELEVENTH: METS 6 – (6) 8 PHILLIES

 

It was the week of nationwide baseball migrations, the late-September hour when contenders assemble in a neck-in-neck row, the losers into the last-gasp role of the spoiler, when the clinch flags fly and standings settle into their final arrangements, the first of the geese flocks soar in V-formations over the ballpark air, criss-crossing the flight paths of all airborne LaGuardia traffic. Continue reading “Game 83 // Eleventh Inning, New York // The Asdrubal Game”

8-7 Wrigley 2016 Montero Rizzo

Game 82 // Thirteenth Inning, Chicago // Hashtag We Are Good

TOP OF THE THIRTEENTH: CUBS 6 – (6) 7 PIRATES

 

“Freese hits an infield single off the glove of Rob Zaztryz…Zaztrzyz…Zastryzny,” and Len Kasper’s almost worked himself up into a sneeze, stuttering over the strange sounds of too many Z’s.

In the Cubs’ clubhouse the other day (via ESPN), there was one simple question, posed to the team: “Pronounce Rob Zastryzny”—with the full gamut of butcherings drawn out, from the almost-theres to the dead-ass-wrongs. Continue reading “Game 82 // Thirteenth Inning, Chicago // Hashtag We Are Good”