Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Slipped through our fingers

Early this morning, somewhere after 12:10/1:10 in the morning, in the top of the 14th inning, Travis Hafner fouled a 3-1 pitch high and back. It started off a bit more toward third, but then curved back toward home, directly toward where I was sitting in the first row of the 500-level. I reached over and down, mindful of the 12-inch fence that would hardly have kept my 6-3” self from plummeting to a painful end. But the ball hit the cement facing, skimming my fingertips. Rick Manning commented on STO that it bounded to the lower deck, landing in a long-abandoned (but not fully finished) cup of beer.

DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune
What a waste. Of beer. Of my closest chance ever, through hundreds of baseball games, of catching a foul ball. (Some doofus in the lower deck caught his second of the game shortly after my near miss.) And of course, for the Indians, whose impotence at the plate when it counted late in the game cost a game in the standings looking up and back.

It probably never should have gone that far. The Tribe looked hapless early, and the White Sox were smacking the ball around off Ubaldo Jimenez and nearly anybody who followed him.  But the Sox could never capitalize as much as they should have, and their pitchers proved unable to hit the strike zone. Plus a couple costly mishaps ("Boot it Like Beckham"--classic) let the Tribe back in it.

But as great (interesting?) a comeback it was in regulation, the extra innings were just as frustrating. Bases loaded, men on third, no matter what, the Indians couldn’t bring a runner across the plate when it counted. Sure, the crowd was getting drowsy, but don't they brew extra strong coffee in MLB clubhouses? This is a game that the Indians had to win. It was right there for them to snatch away, and they couldn't come through. 

Hitting medium-deep fly balls with men on third base should be on the practice agenda today.

Whenever the Indians wake up. Me, for one, I’m grabbing another cup of coffee.

Interesting side note: sure, this was the Sox game (on the south side), and it was northbound train after the game, but the Red Line at 1AM was about 55% Indians fans, 35% White Sox fans, and 10% high-as-hell Phish fans who were coming from the show.