(The fans at Kaufmann Stadium are acting like they just won the World Series. It's nice to see. Hey, can you begin with a digression?)
Once in a while this game's just plain fun. Your ace torments a bunch of snakes. An ancient catcher gets waved around from first, with doom awaiting him at the plate — and somehow scores despite the fact that he's now moving at the approximate speed of a tectonic plate. An AL pitcher without a hit this year gets one that maybe goes 25 feet. A right fielder turns the wrong way, falls down, and still catches a ball. (Snakes, meanwhile, are watching balls bounce all over the place — though of course it's hard to field without limbs.) The suddenly resurgent young shortstop banks a ball off the pitcher and sees it go into the outfield. (A snake tries the same trick and sees the ball go right to the second baseman.) The aforementioned second baseman shakes off his haplessness to collect a two-run double, and quiets the mob. Even the ninth brings pleasures: Our young work-in-progress pitcher shows some admirable toughness in getting out of a jam, helped out by a nifty block of home by the just-returned backup catcher.
Why, it's enough to make a team want to take a break from the game to play in the sprinklers.
And did I mention that Mister Koo got put on the DL with a somewhat-vague injury? Turns out he hurt his shoulder sneaking home on that play against Randy Johnson. Odd that the culmination of Mister Koo's big inning would be the vehicle for his exit from the roster.
(Michael Kay is railing about the shocking sweep. He looks genuinely upset. Hee hee hee.)
Postscript to last night's game: My pal Pete arrived about nine to go out and play pool, sending me racing out to hear what I hoped would be a crisp wrap-up to Deep Throw's gem. (COUNSELL RESIGNS?) It had been a long time since I'd assumed this role: the anxious fan-in-the-car. Pete was a baseball fan ages ago (even, I seem to remember, vaguely a Met fan), but he put aside childish things sometime in the Doug Flynn era and now maintains a polite interest at best. He apologetically said he needed to get gas. With Looper coming in from the pen, I could not have been more magnanimous — after all, getting gas would take care of the entire bottom of the ninth. Or should. Or could.
Of course, getting gas soon turned into enduring torment, as Looper commenced to pitch lousy. Finally we're moving again — double play! Of course I'm now mildly annoyed that the high of winning a game will be followed by a few minutes of looking for a parking place. (Ingratitude, thy name is moi.) The double play apparently startles Looper: As we pull up to the bar, Tony Clark singles and they bring in a speedster to pinch-run, with Piazza of course still in the game. (Gulp.) I hold my hand up and poor Pete realizes that yes, we're waiting in the car until this is decided. Cintron singles. Good Lord. The car is like a tomb. Each pitch takes an eternity as my eyes flick around looking for some distraction. (One is helpfully provided: Three overeducated young men have made getting a sofa through a narrow doorway into a cross between a physics experiment and a board meeting.) Here comes Matt Kata. It's obvious we're doomed. Perhaps I'll stay in the car and drink antifreeze. But wait! Looper's gone schizo the other way again! Strike three! Wheeee! Turn that ignition off and let's go pound that Bud!
We walk into the bar and of course the game's been on in there the whole time. Clearly visible from the car, in fact. D'oh!