Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Love It

Red Sox down 5-0, ESPN announcer J. Kruk says a 5-run comeback is manageable but not much beyond that. Then clarifies: maybe last year the Red Sox could come back from down 5, but they haven't been scoring much this year....

Never before had I visualized so hard an exact final score of 6-5 Red Sox. And that's what it was! Sox win on odd sac-fly-with-errant-throw in bottom 9th!

Where to start with this mofo? Oh right, the Kruk thing. Where to go second? How about Pedroia hitting a near-walk-off dong in a 5-5 tie in the ninth? Are those the best angles ESPN had? Lemme guess: The left field camera, instead of showing an "along the fence" view, was zooming in for player reactions to a possible winning hit. No, more likely to fans ready to...raise their arms! All they gave us on a border call--the most basic of reviewable plays, one which was already reviewable last year before all this new replay was introduced--were head-on shots! About two of them. It looked like the glove reached over, but it was inconclusive, which is what MLB said. So they had to keep Dustin at second. I will say that it's not as easy as it looks to get a full glove out over the red line. Didn't matter since we won anyway. But this brings up yet another problem with replay: apparently the only feeds they have are what the networks choose to show. Shouldn't they have their own automated cameras fixed on all home run borders? (And shouldn't this have happened last year?) I also wonder if they listen to the announcers and let that affect their decisions. (God knows we don't want them listening to Remy's opinion on these plays, the man is legally blind.) And I also wonder what happens when two or more replay decisions need to be made in different games at the same time! Do the umps get a message that says "your call will answered in the order in which it was received, your approximate wait time is...."?

So after that play, Papi walked, and the O's changed pitchers. Napoli was due up with the winning run in scoring position. They go to break. Commercials. Commercials. More commercials. I start getting worried. The goddamn heavy hitter is telling me his law office is open 24 hours. Then they play this chintzy local commercial again, and now I know the game must be going on, and I fear them cutting back to a celebration, with me missing the winning hit. Sure enough, they finally cut back, and the count is 1-0 and another pitch is on the way! Not only did we miss the new pitcher's stat-intro, but we missed a pitch which could have been a game-ending hit, and almost another one. Now this could have been unique to my cable company in my area, but somebody fucked this up and should be killed. Fine, just fired. Okay okay, suspended. Without pay!

So then Nap gets drilled on the kneecap in a move that that villain in Cloak & Dagger would have been proud of. Bases loaded, one out, crowd going crazy knowing we've already come back from 5-0. Carp lines to left. Pedroia breaks toward home. Ball caught. Pedroia heads back to third to tag up, though it's shallow and he's probably not going to even try to score. He hits the bag and bluffs for home as the throw goes by him toward home. He naturally heads back to third yet again. But either he sees out of the corner of his eye, or his coach tells him, the throw is going past the catcher! Dustin bolts for home. And in one last moment of slight uncertainty, starts to take his helmet off to celebrate but realizes that the pitcher has made a pretty nifty play backing up and playing the carom perfectly off the back wall, so he puts his hands back down and sprints through home as the throw to the catcher is offline and still late. He gives the safe sign as he crosses into victory-land. Sox 6, O's 5.

As for how they got there, Peavy didn't have it tonight. It was 5-0 going bottom 6, when Jonny Wadd hit a three-run dong. The next inning, a rally was aided by a transfer play (note to ESPN: the call wasn't controversial, the rule is), with Papi's single making it 5-4, and another Oriole miscue tying it. Napoli grounds to deep third. Guy tries for force at home, instead of turning an easy 5-4-3 inning-ending DP. Throw one-hops catcher, can't handle it, game tied. After that, Gomes went 2-0 and 3-1 but couldn't come through, and Nava struck out to end the threat, and the fun would have to wait.

Also, the O's got a leadoff double in their half of the 9th, but Miller got the next two guys. Then, Buck Showalter had Dmitri Young's brother on-deck, ready to pinch-hit. But since Farrell came out of the dugout before Young was announced, he was forced to make his move, at which point Buck goes back to the original hitter. At this point, I knew we were gold. Know why? Because baseball is the only one of the major sports where if you're taken out of a game, that's your night. Mentally, you're done. You can check out right there, remove the "game face," because it is illegal for you to play again in that game. And this poor sap had been told to grab a seat because a pinch-hitter will be replacing him. Then suddenly, Ooh, ooh, mistake, guess what, guy, we're able to let you stay in, grab a bat! I knew that motherfucker was striking out there. And he did. Weakly. Maybe if you were gonna pinch-hit Geno Petralli for Ted Williams, and you get a chance to stick with Williams after all, fine, go ahead and call him back. But when it's Delmon Young vs. David Lough, I say just go ahead and use the guy you planned on using anyway. Based on nothing other than the fact that the original guy is already gamefaceless.

Sox now in third place, 2 games out of first, 1 out of second.

We do it all over again in 12 hours. Morning baseball on Monday.

Curious that Showalter didn't intentionally walk Ortiz from the start. Overall, not Buck's best game.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States