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”

Cain Kansas City Red Sox Home Run

Game 81 // Sixth Inning, Boston // The Royal Fenway Rally

TOP OF THE SIXTH: ROYALS 10 (2) – 4 RED SOX

 

The Royals, the royal, the kingly and queenly lineage of Mr. Tenenbaum, Real Madrid, RC Cola, the top poker flush of all, the Casino and the with-cheese—an e on the tail.

And Kansas City. The American Royal rodeo show. The heartland. The boys in blue, taking the field since ’69, running out before the fanatics, as the best attraction for miles, the show where there is no other, the thing to see and cheer and love and bemoan, the two-time champs, the defending champs, the George Brett, the Bo Jackson, the Hal McRae, the … …. [two-plus decades of joyless void]… … the Eric Hosmer, the Salvador Perez, the Lorenzo Cain. Continue reading “Game 81 // Sixth Inning, Boston // The Royal Fenway Rally”

Gustavson Jaso Art Baseball

Game 80 // Fourth Inning, Milwaukee // The Pirates Pirates Pirates

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


TOP OF THE FOURTH: PIRATES 6 (1) – 5 BREWERS

 

Before McCutchen, there was Sparrow. Before Bonds, Hook. Before Clemente and Stargell and Waner and Wagner, there was One-Eyed Willy, Redbeard, Billy Bones, Long John Silver. There was, before the very first pirate set foot beside the Allegheny River, the long marauding history of the buccaneers, the raiders, the corsairs, the filibusters, the freebooters, sailing the seven seas and beyond—the seasick and the treasure-crazed, lumped together in mussed-up crews from Sardinia to Barbados.

John Jaso holds sway over them all. The man, in nearly every way, is a pirate. Continue reading “Game 80 // Fourth Inning, Milwaukee // The Pirates Pirates Pirates”

Houston Astros Rays Minute Maid Gattis Homer

Game 79 // Ninth Inning, Houston // The Back to Backers

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: ASTROS 5 (3) – 4 RAYS

 

The quickest of the big innings, by far, this season.

Carlos Correa, with the first pitch of the Houston ninth, no outs.

An opposite field home run to left, surprising even himself, as if the swing were accidental, expected foul, then watching it watching it carry carry carry on and over the wall just fair enough and just far enough for a score. Continue reading “Game 79 // Ninth Inning, Houston // The Back to Backers”

Vogelsong uniform Pirates baggy yelllow

Game 78 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // The Marlin Sink the Galleon

TOP OF THE FIFTH: MARLINS 3 (1) – 2 PIRATES

 

The Pittsburgh skyline, with its yellow bridges and clustered office buildings, looks in on PNC Park and sees a sorry sight: the hometown Pirates, in mid-table struggle and fading, wearing the kind of outfit concocted from nightmares. Bright yellow baggy tops. Jet black baggy pants. Black shoes. The old kepi hats, striped yellow and black. Ryan Vogelsong hiking up his slipping pants after each pitch, with the elastic waistband too loose—and appearing, as the live-feed pixels blur out for a moment, like a big banana, dipped in tar. Continue reading “Game 78 // Fifth Inning, Pittsburgh // The Marlin Sink the Galleon”

Game 77 // Fourth Inning, S.F. // The San Francisco Bumgarners

BOTTOM OF THE FOURTH: GIANTS 5 (0) – 4 METS

 

A beet-red moon hovers over the great bay in the distance, rising above bridges and changing into a Giants-baseball orange, and then finally yellow and white—far beyond the lit-up air of AT&T Park. The fans are into the tame middle-innings quiet, bundled up in the summertime coats that are the official attire for San Francisco baseball. On the mound for New York is Jacob deGrom, whose Continue reading “Game 77 // Fourth Inning, S.F. // The San Francisco Bumgarners”

Chase Utley Philadelphia Return Home Run

Game 76 // Seventh Inning, Philly // Chase Utley’s Big Return

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: DODGERS 13 (5) – 2 PHILLIES

 

Chase Utley of the L.A. Dodgers has returned to Philadelphia, to a giant salad of superfan worship at Citizens Bank Park, a red sea of admiring, cheering, bowing nostalgics, holding up big hand-written posterboards to show their forever approval.

“Welcome home Chase, I miss you!”

“CHASE UTLEY: A PHILLIE FOREVER” 

“The man! #26” Continue reading “Game 76 // Seventh Inning, Philly // Chase Utley’s Big Return”

Last Game Yankees Rays Rain Sketch Rodriguez

Game 75 // First Inning, New York // A-Rod’s Last Dance

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


BOTTOM OF THE FIRST: YANKEES 1 (0) – 1 RAYS

 

A president’s term near over. Letterman gone. Stewart gone. Colbert Colbert gone. And in the sports world Jeter gone. Mariano and Kobe and Peyton gone. Phelps, he insists, gone too. Papi’s last months flying by in a blur. The Wheaties-box heroes of a childhood now retired and gone within a year, their on-field ashes scattered among the montages and the career statlines, highlight reels and storylines. And the last, the very last of the holdouts from the days of ‘90s/00’s fame longevity—the great, the loathed, the historic, the only: Alex Rodriguez.

Tonight was his last game in the major-leagues.

 

Continue reading “Game 75 // First Inning, New York // A-Rod’s Last Dance”

Walk Off 6-5 August Safeco Zunino Fez Mariners

Game 74 // Fifteenth Inning, Seattle // The Seager Game

BOTTOM OF THE FIFTEENTH: MARINERS 6 (4) – 5 TIGERS

 

An e to an a, a Pete to a Kyle, and a late-night extras win in Seattle for Seager: “If he had a homer, he’d homer in the morning. He’d homer in the evening, all over this land. He’d homer out danger, he’d homer out a warning, he’d homer out love between his brothers and sisters, all over this land.” Continue reading “Game 74 // Fifteenth Inning, Seattle // The Seager Game”

Crawford 7 Hits Miami Stennett

Game 73 // Fourteenth Inning, Miami // Brandon Crawford For Seven

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


TOP OF THE FOURTEENTH: GIANTS 8 (7) – 7 MARLINS

 

There’s a Corona Light ad visible on the backstop behind home at Marlins Park—“Corona Light: The light cerveza”—and I’m not sure if it’s trying to half-teach English to non-native speakers, or half-teach Spanish to all gringos. It’s that Dora The Explorer bilingualism, high-pitched and nauseating, speaking very very slowly into the educational airwaves: “I can’t find my osito anywhere!! Where’s my teddy bear??” An ad campaign written by the Bumblebee Man from The Simpsons, targeting an audience of in-betweeners, Spanglish as the primary tongue. Continue reading “Game 73 // Fourteenth Inning, Miami // Brandon Crawford For Seven”