Slide, Utley, Slide!

This blog has been dormant for some time, despite the amazing baseball that’s been going on this year, and my life has been changing a lot since then too. The blog may well go back to being dormant, I don’t know.

However, after the NLDS Game 2, John Thorn put out the call for song parodies of this 1880’s classic, and John Thorn doesn’t have to ask twice.

I played a game of baseball down at old Chavez Ravine
The crowd was intermittent, and the heat was fierce and keen
A nobler lot of people there might have chanced to play
But you would never hear that said from teammates in LA.
The game was quickly started while I sat on the bench
Waiting for Mattingly to call upon a would-be mensch.
Hernandez drew a walk and then it was my turn to bat,
Eked out a quiet single and there was no need to spat.

(Chorus):
Slide, Utley, slide; the fray will never end
Slide, Utley, slide; your havoc they’ll suspend
If your blows are just too crushing, and you aren’t duly blushing
They won’t take you to Flushing; slide, Utley, slide!

Twas in the seventh inning they called me in, you’ll find
But once I got to first, moving along was on my mind.
But something was the matter, sure I couldn’t see the ball
But my slide into the base broke down Tejada’s leg and all
I was running down the baseline, I figured that he tripped
For when I tumbled into him, he got severely flipped.
‘Twas a most unpleasant feeling, though at first they called me out;
We both were ratlled, and that’s when the fans began to shout;

They overturned the play so to the base I got to go
The way they took Tejada out, it must have been a show.
On Gonzalez then depended the victory or defeat,
And he came through to show the world that we would not be beat.
Five to two was the score of the game when we got done,
But when I got suspended I thought that was much less fun.
The news got home ahead of me, they said I couldn’t play;
The fans told me that I should sue, and then began to say…

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Scorelessness

I like keeping score. I tend to do so when I’m seeing the sport in person. It helps keep me focused. If I’m lucky enough to witness something unique, I’ve got written proof. Sometimes, I’ve tried putting dots in those little boxes to note the running count. But I don’t do so very often. There’s not much room. Count-counting isn’t big for me. This is fine. Even when I’m content with noting everything I wish to note, there’s much more I could write down to keep score.

MLB.com lets me note lots to do with every pitch. Well, it’s supposed to. Tonight, though, it didn’t show speeds, types, or “Pitch FX” (this isn’t fudging for omission purposes; its true moniker is “Pitch FX”) for every pitch. Not in the New York (NL)-St. Louis contest. I don’t put guilt on their shoulders. One of tonight’s “pitchers” is truly St. Louis’ shortstop; his sub is their pinch-hitter-turned-center fielder.

Even so, I could follow their pitches with precision. If I were in St. Louis, I would’ve most likely kept score. Or tried to. I’d use every column I’d gotten. Then I’d use box score columns, if they were there (I never return to fill in those box score columns). Then I’d squeeze it into the sides. Then…well, I don’t know. I guess I could return to previous columns. They weren’t getting lots of hits, right? Or were they? St. Louis got fifteen throughout the night; the Mets got nine.

But the point is, I would try to keep score. Every out, every inning stretching into the night, everything would count. I’d try to write it down.

“It’s scoreless.”

No. No, it isn’t.

Kyle Lohse stood in left field with Felipe Lopez pitching. Lopez threw one inning without giving up hits. Not giving up hits; so simple, even your shortstop (or guy on second or third) could do it!

Of course, this isn’t true. It might be, for short times. Then it becomes something in itself, some sort of self-destroying prophecy. You could throw shutouts, hold your opponents…without runs, but no-hitters require skill. With, quite often, luck too.

Throwing wildly–or motioning wildly to let runners move up–might help you in some sense. Relieve one level of pressure, preserve the picture of effort expended futilely. The illusion of simplicity–this whole BB thing doesn’t look very good, you know. But you might not need to be good. If Lopez could…will, of course. They didn’t know then. They were “only” in the sixteenth or so, over in St. Louis.

Most other nights, either score would shine out. Tonight, does one eclipse the other? Most likely. But both were still wonderful. To diminish the worth of either by noting the glory of the other is silly, just like deeming something “scoreless” when the score is kept. They will both be kept long into the future.

Phillies 9, Mets 7

Our memories of heroes go in chunks; months of success in Boston, triumphs in New York, exploits elsewhere. But every so often, they return to their old fields. Emotion is distorted; we’re unsure how to greet them. Time folds into flukish intersections; we lose trust in simple dimensions.

But before even this repetition comes offense. Two trinities of runs bring up the pitcher, bringing out noise while he steps in. He is still in the box, not needing to swing. In the end (but it is just the beginning), he endures while his opposite number exits. 3-0…but he is retired.

The pendulum jerks over to the hosts without stopping for even one out. Most homers go over the outfield fence. This one goes under it. Victorino tries to surrender, but this sport will not condone such hopelessness. The runner keeps running. The left fielder continues fielding, but is left with no good throw. The Mets score; the competition goes on.

Two runs echo two runs. Then more come, one by one. With the Phillies up by just three runs, Bruntlett hits it into the outfield. The umpire’s unsure, Bruntlett motors on to triple. The Mets’ skipper fights it–more impressively, wins. How often does disputing such rulings work? It’s flukish, weird, but oddity is needed from time to time.

So Bruntlett is out. So too, quickly, is his boss. To the end. Even then, it’s not over. The first hitter gets to third. The next pitch is hit to Bruntlett. E4, one run in, one on. Nobody out.

The next pitch is hit to Bruntlett. He knocks it down. Two on, nobody out.

Then lined to second. Bruntlett’s got it, momentum pushing him through second for out number two. He turns, going for Murphy, who tries to bounce out of the defensive zone. But it is no use–the field too is folded through impossible dimensions. Forever here, forever welcoming the weird.