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)”

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”

Cleveland Chicago 2016 Game One 1

Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While

WORLD SERIES 2016: GAME ONE


 

There’s an old saying by Cub fans, repeated over the land, that goes: “Oh my god—we’re in the World Series? The World Series!?”

Old, so old, as old as three unreal, brave-new-world days. When those words burst into the talk, pinging around at full speed, fan to ecstatic fan. Appearing one day in bold, drawn big onto the great Cub-fan blackboard in the sky, erasing all others in one big swipe—“Wait ‘til next year…” chalked away into a smudge. Continue reading “Game 97 // First Inning, Cleveland // We’ve Waited A Sure Long While”

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”

Francisco Lindor Walkoff Single July

Game 67 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // The Summer of Wahoo

TOP OF THE NINTH: NATIONALS 6 (5) – 4 INDIANS

 

The Nationals had this one won. Then they had it more won. Up one run. Up to two runs, too. Then, they had it lost, and lost it they did. A National nightmare, prolonged and Papelbonned, a team asleep with the lead, awoken with the house on fire. Someone check on Dusty Baker, he’s had a rough go of it. He got rally-monkeyed in ’02, billy-goated in ’03, chaperoned a string of heartbreaks in Cincinnati, and now he’s back—to the great-team/tough-break blues, unsure of whether the hump will finally be surmounted, waiting for October to find out. Continue reading “Game 67 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // The Summer of Wahoo”

Jarrod Dyson Kansas City

Game 63 // Eighth Inning, Kansas City // The Butcher Boy

BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: ROYALS 7 (0) – 2 INDIANS

 

Behind home plate at Kauffman Stadium are three words that I’m sure are the result of some great prank, pasted into the ad space on the backstop by a group of middle-school gigglers, paying homage to the gods of sophomoric genius:

“Steaks With Hos.”

Steaks with hoes?

If I’m reading it right, the sign is like a remixed reprinting of the centerpiece at the heart of Will Ferrell’s last great film, the takeaway theme song from Step Brothers, two 40-year-old fictional siblings aboard a stolen yacht, realizing their delayed dreams of hip-hop stardom. Continue reading “Game 63 // Eighth Inning, Kansas City // The Butcher Boy”

Game 61 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // Yankees Ballet to the W

Sketch by Henry Gustavson


BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: YANKEES 5 – 4 INDIANS

 

There’s an occasional sense watching baseball, that what you’re seeing steps into another category altogether, into the absurd, the cartoonish—where sport falls behind spectacle, the score and standings go blurred out and silent, for a moment, and you’re left only with an image.

Prince Fielder belly-flopping onto the Fenway Park dirt, a beached fish some 20,000 leagues short of third base. Continue reading “Game 61 // Ninth Inning, Cleveland // Yankees Ballet to the W”

Game 59 // Eighth Inning, Toronto // Blue Jay Way

Sketch by Ed Chee


BOTTOM OF THE EIGHTH: BLUE JAYS 9 (6) – 9 INDIANS

 

Unbridled swagger has come home to roost in Toronto, Ontario. A municipal token of cultural pride, soon to be distributed at retail establishments: an a-side image of Drake at a Raptors game, the b-side the hybrid mullet-‘do of Josh Donaldson, pocketed and hung like medallions, in a city-wide fad—from Centre Island to Bloor Street, Oshawa to Mississauga. Continue reading “Game 59 // Eighth Inning, Toronto // Blue Jay Way”

Game 57 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // The Day the Indians Soared

TOP OF THE FIFTH: INDIANS 8 (2) – 2 TIGERS

 

Left, right, left, right—a pinball-esque onslaught of baseballs soaring into the outfield stands of Comerica Park, unlocking bonus rounds and score multipliers, and it’s nine straight wins stacked up, reeled in, strung together, for the first-place Cleveland Indians, on their way to the top of the A.L. heap. Continue reading “Game 57 // Fifth Inning, Detroit // The Day the Indians Soared”

Game 42 // Third Inning, Chicago // Homecoming, Juan Uribe

TOP OF THE THIRD: INDIANS 3 (0) – 1 WHITE SOX

 

A statue of a leaping, striving, stretching shortstop careening into the annals of World Series history, White Sox glory—the iconic first out of a trophy-winning ninth inning in Houston.

Reanimated, shaking off the bronze coating, scrubbing off the rust, stepping out of the championship pavilion and back into the batter’s box Continue reading “Game 42 // Third Inning, Chicago // Homecoming, Juan Uribe”

Game 6 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Cold-Weather Rally

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: INDIANS 2 3 – 2 WHITE SOX

The balaclava: official formal-wear of Siberia, ski slopes and bank robberies everywhere, and now…April baseball.

I notice very little in-between out there on the field, with Chris Sale going sleeveless beneath the jersey shirt, Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu going for full coverage on the face and neck—not, apparently, getting the memo challenging all comers to brave the cold with the barest, most Continue reading “Game 6 // Seventh Inning, Chicago // Cold-Weather Rally”