Game 92 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // The Great Cubs Miracle

9:25: A scoreless top of the fourth passes. Three up, three down. Hopeless dread circling and stabbing at my head. I know a losing Cubs team when I see one. I know it I know it I know it I sadly know it.

9:30: Put running shorts on, tie shoes. Glance at TV on the way to the door. Hear mom say “argh… bases loaded?” Hear the crack of the bat and a cheering ballpark, through the TV speakers. Hear dad say “Matt freaking Moore?”—and assume the worst. Continue reading “Game 92 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // The Great Cubs Miracle”

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.”

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”

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”

July Fenway Sox Boston Inning

Game 64 // Third Inning, Boston // Great Fenway in July

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


BOTTOM OF THE THIRD: RED SOX 8 (3) – 0 GIANTS

 

Look at Matt Cain on the mound, readying his next pitch, holding up a yellowed glove in front of his mouth like the beak of a strange orange bird. Stirrups. Elastic. Uniforms from the early ‘80s. Not the Orioles in town, but the Giants—a rare interleague trip to Fenway Park, the two teams sharing half the World Series wins this past decade, teams with no history of big-time matchups.

Look at Xander Bogaerts strolling to the plate, “Who’s been chilly with the bat,” per the Sox’ TV crew, his metal cleats digging into the dirt. Continue reading “Game 64 // Third Inning, Boston // Great Fenway in July”

Padres Giants Balk

Game 62 // Tenth Inning, San Diego // Padres Balk It Off

BOTTOM OF THE TENTH PADRES 7 (5) – 6 GIANTS

 

We start tonight in the perspective of two bespectacled eyes behind home plate, peering out at the mound with all-seeing supervision, gazing with some literary quality out at the weirdest story of the major-league night. Dr. TJ Eckleburg—migrated across miles and decades, sign to sign, from fictional billboard to the rectangular ad space on the Petco Park backstop:

The eyes of the Tough Turtle Turf turtle are white and tiny—their retinas are one inch wide. They look out of no human face, but, instead, from a pair of circular white spectacles which pass over a nonexistent nose. Continue reading “Game 62 // Tenth Inning, San Diego // Padres Balk It Off”

Game 53 // First Inning, San Francisco // The Cueto Shimmy

TOP OF THE FIRST: DODGERS 2 (0) – 0 GIANTS

 

The end of an era. Sammy Sosa called out for his corked bats. George Brett tossed for pine tar. And now Johnny Cueto, long-time master of the shimmy, baseball deception’s stylish king of the hill—shoulder-shaking, pelvis-wobbling, neck-bobbling trickery stopped in its tracks with the rules finally catching up to him—“You’ve had enough,” the umpires said, “no more shimmies, no more fun.”
Continue reading “Game 53 // First Inning, San Francisco // The Cueto Shimmy”

Game 48 // Ninth Inning, Atlanta // Giants Gone Wild

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: BRAVES 4 (3) – 4 GIANTS

 

Knowing very little about the 2016 Atlanta Braves, I do a little searching and find what looks like a murder scene, red streaks dripping down a wall in long, pitiful rows. The wins and losses of each MLB team, on Baseball Reference, are arranged by color (green or red) and by degree (height or depth) and, well, if the first-place Cubs are like a forest canopy of tall green trees, the Braves are a teeming collection of underground worms, tunneling deeper than even they know how. Continue reading “Game 48 // Ninth Inning, Atlanta // Giants Gone Wild”

Game 41 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // Pence to Kemp, Glitch in the Outfield

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: GIANTS 1 (0) – 0 PADRES

 

Johnny Cueto has just pitched a career-best game. He’s in the dugout, hat off, arms on the padded green railing, an orange and black skull cap stretched over his long dreadlocks, awaiting the slim chance of a win to be added to his season record. It’s nothing-nothing, a stalemate of a game, and Continue reading “Game 41 // Ninth Inning, San Francisco // Pence to Kemp, Glitch in the Outfield”

Game 27 // Fifth Inning, S.F. // The Eating of the Words

TOP OF THE FIFTH: ROCKIES 17 (4) – 3 GIANTS

Less than a week ago, when this very same Giants team gave up 12 runs in a single inning:

I don’t think I’ll have to eat my words, I said, if I say this was this biggest inning we’ll see this year. And, by the end: Wow, I said, if that isn’t the biggest Big Inning I’ll ever see.

I’ll ever see. A week ago.

So as Redditor see_mohn so charmingly asks, Would you like those words broiled or fried? Continue reading “Game 27 // Fifth Inning, S.F. // The Eating of the Words”

Mets 12 Run Inning

Game 22 // Third Inning, New York // Mets on Mets on Mets

BOTTOM OF THE THIRD: METS 12 0 – 0 GIANTS

 

Don’t think I’ll have to eat my words if I say this was the biggest inning we’ll see this year. Without a doubt, it was—and the biggest in the Mets’ whole history. 12 runs. 12 runs!! A dozen Metropolitans storming home in an endless third inning, a full midnight-to-noon rotation spinning toward Mets o’clock, with the fans in Flushing unsure of Continue reading “Game 22 // Third Inning, New York // Mets on Mets on Mets”

Game 13 // Eleventh Inning, San Francisco // Late-Night Seagull Mania

TOP OF THE ELEVENTH: D-BACKS 9 7 – 7 GIANTS

It was a back-and-forth extra-innings duel at AT&T Park, the Giants hosting the Diamondbacks in a late, 12th-inning comeback.

And it was an unregistered third team vying for inclusion in the standings, attention from the fanbase, circling above the diamond, squawking, flapping, flocking, scarfing down leftover concessions. Continue reading “Game 13 // Eleventh Inning, San Francisco // Late-Night Seagull Mania”

Game 5 // Eighth Inning, San Francisco // The No-Hitter That Wasn’t

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: DODGERS 2 – 0 2 GIANTS

What!!!??? What!!!!!!!????? I can’t believe what I just saw—the sound of my own dumbfounded, screaming voice against the TV erasing all ability to comprehend, reason with, or justify what Dave Roberts just did… Continue reading “Game 5 // Eighth Inning, San Francisco // The No-Hitter That Wasn’t”