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… they’ve never been this good before.

Continue reading “Game 104 // Eighth Inning, Houston // The ‘Stros at Night Are Big and Bright…”

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”

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 58 // Ninth Inning, New York // Yankee Didi Dandy

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: YANKEES 9 (3) – 7 RANGERS

 

“Pain is inevitable,” said Haruki Murakami, the great Japanese novelist. “Suffering is optional.”

The Yankees are no longer the Yankees Yankees. Pour one out. The Red Sox are in first place. Gone are the days of the sure-thing AL East crown for New York, with all other comers fighting for a Wild Card spot. Gone are the days of Jeter, Rivera, Continue reading “Game 58 // Ninth Inning, New York // Yankee Didi Dandy”

Game 47 // Seventh Inning, Toronto // The Darwin Barney Game

BOTTOM OF THE SEVENTH: BLUE JAYS 4 (1) – 1 YANKEES

 

It’s yet another classic hit from the greatest of this baseball generation, leaping and bounding his way through the record books, into the hearts of fans, his face on every billboard across Canada—the one, the only… Darwin … Barney?

He’s (at best) the fourth best known Barney in recent history, behind Continue reading “Game 47 // Seventh Inning, Toronto // The Darwin Barney Game”

Game 46 // Seventh Inning, St. Pete // Starlin Light, Starlin Bright

TOP OF THE SEVENTH: YANKEES 2 (0) – 1 RAYS

 

Jake Odorizzi is throwing a no-hitter. Six innings on the books. His last name appears to be Rougned Odor’s rap name. Drizzy. Weezy. Odorizzi.

The cowbells are at full clang inside the Trop, locked in tight battle with a strong New York contingent, chanting Continue reading “Game 46 // Seventh Inning, St. Pete // Starlin Light, Starlin Bright”

Game 24 // Fifth Inning, Boston // Rivalry, Renewed

TOP OF THE FIFTH: RED SOX 4 – (3) 6 YANKEES

 

Some time ago, something roared, or attacked, or boiled over into madness. It battled, it made miracles, it embodied good vs. evil and was in every way historic. It put New York behind navy pinstripes and Boston in red and white, with Stephen King and Billy Crystal awaiting either rapture or apocalypse, awaiting the final judgment between empire and curse. Mariano against Manny, Pedro against Jeter. Continue reading “Game 24 // Fifth Inning, Boston // Rivalry, Renewed”

Game 4 // Second Inning, The Bronx // Castro… “He’s so hot right now”

TOP OF THE SECOND: YANKEES 6 – 1 ASTROS

We’re at Yankee stadium for a rematch of last year’s AL Wild Card game, both the stakes and temperature considerably lower, bench players sipping on hot chocolate out of paper gatorade cups in the dugout.

I tune in and spot the towering frame of Michael Pineda tossing warm-up pitches on the mound, maybe the league leader in sideways-cocked hat angle bravado, up there with Continue reading “Game 4 // Second Inning, The Bronx // Castro… “He’s so hot right now””