a baseball situation you dream of

1 08 2006

I don’t intend to turn this into a sports blog (although I could easily write about sports almost every day, if I had time to keep up with them), but I want to share a story about a special game last night.

The Indians were leading the Red Sox 8-6 going into the 9th.  Before the inning started, the announcers were already hyping up the situation : if the Red Sox could get someone on base, David Ortiz (Big Papi) would get to bat and be the tying run, and he’s great in clutch situations.  The first batter singled, then the second walked (I know Youkilis is a walking-machine, but in this situation you just can’t walk anybody).  The third batter popped up, for the first out.  Then Big Papi came to the plate, calm and confident as always.  He’s facing a rookie pitcher, someone he’d never seen before, who’s throwing in the upper 90s.  Everyone was excited, because Ortiz has come through in these situations so many times.  I was excited, and my wife was also excited (and that’s priceless).  Ortiz took a couple of balls, then on a 2-0 fastball that was on the outside corner at the knees, he hit it hard towards center field.  The crowd was already on its feet and shouting, but everyone was wondering if he could hit another walk-off homerun.  The center-fielder kept going toward the wall, and the ball landed over the fence, at least 440 feet away.  The crowd went crazy!  The announcers were saying, “I can’t believe he’s done this again!”  It was incredible!  His teammates mobbed him at home plate.  About the only way it could’ve been better was if it was in the playoffs (like he did in 2004).

To anyone who ever played baseball as a kid, that’s the kind of situation you always imagine — bottom of the 9th, runners on base, you’re up to bat as the winning run, and then you hit the game-ending homer.  The crowd goes crazy, your teammates are excited, and the game is instantly over as you jog around the bases, savoring the victory.  There’s probably not a bigger moment in sports (during a regular-season game, anyway).

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