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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.
The best Cleveland moment since Rajai Davis, Game 7.
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.
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.
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!?”
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”
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.
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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)”
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”
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”