Game 116 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // THE STREAK, IT LIVES!!

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.

And then.

The best Cleveland moment since Rajai Davis, Game 7.

Continue reading “Game 116 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // THE STREAK, IT LIVES!!”

Game 115 // Eighth Inning, Arizona // The LeMahieu Shift

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.

Continue reading “Game 115 // Eighth Inning, Arizona // The LeMahieu Shift”

Game 114 // Seventh Inning, Minnesota // Lorenzo Cain, Check-Swing of the Year

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.

Continue reading “Game 114 // Seventh Inning, Minnesota // Lorenzo Cain, Check-Swing of the Year”

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)”

Dodger Stadium Puig Walkoff

Game 112 // Ninth Inning, Los Angeles // The Yasiel Puig Moment

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”

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 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 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”