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”

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 giant blades 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 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 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, 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 offense but we are on the loss menu now.

YOU: But I want offense.

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 that goes: “Oh my god—we’re in the World Series?”

An old saying three days old. When those words burst into the chatter 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”