Monday, August 3, 2009

Beautiful Moment

Game 109: Bulls 4, Indians 5
Season: 62-47
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun, Indy Week

My guess is that anyone who goes to 60 or so games a year has their own reasons for doing it and that they are different. One of the reasons I go happened last night. Top of the 7th inning. The Bulls had just squandered an opportunity to catch up with the Indians in the bottom of the 6th. Jorge Julio was on in relief and had struck out the first batter. Indian’s right fielder Brian Myrow hit a line drive towards the wall in left and Jon Weber made an absolutely beautiful play. He took off running to his right, timed a leap that put him out parallel to the ground with his glove stretched out, and caught the ball maybe a foot above the field. He kept the ball in his glove as he hit the ground, bounced up, and threw the ball in to the cheers of the crowd. Pretty, pretty play.

A moment like that doesn’t happen in every game. And when they do it isn’t always a Bull that makes the play. But those moments are right at the heart of why I go out there so often.

Winning is nice, too. Didn’t happen last night. Wade Davis has given up 12 homers in 22 games this year — 3 of them last night. I wonder if he has become so concerned about his very high walk rate (52 in 126 innings so far) that he risked a exceptionally hittable pitch to avoid another walk? For whatever the reason, Davis gave up 5 runs on only 7 hits. He kept his walks down to one, plus a hit batsman. Unfortunately, both of those runners were on base when he gave up another homer. So, if a home run can be counted as a mistake, all the runs were mistakes.

The Bulls missed a couple of opportunities to tie or go ahead in the game, most notably in the bottom of the 7th. (Note: the Indian’s reliever in the 7th was Mike Koplove, without a doubt the twitchiest pitcher I’ve seen all year. He was a bundle of fidgets, scratches, wiping his hand on the mound, fiddling with the rosin bag, etc.) With the score 3-5, John Jaso walked, Henry Mateo hit a triple to deep center field, scoring Jaso. So we were one run down with Mateo on third, no outs, top of the order coming up. But Jennings, Brignac and Weber grounded out. Mateo was the Bull’s last base runner of the game.

Usually when a pitcher, or any player, is hurt a certain ritual is followed. The player stands around (or lays on the ground) grimacing, shaking the hurt appendage, etc. Someone waves out the trainer. The manager strolls out to look over the shoulder of the trainer. The manager and trainer appear to confer, the manager speaks with the player and then to the umpire. The player heroically acts as if he wants to stay in the game, but gets sent to the bench to the clapping of the crowd. If a pitcher, the manager decides who he wants to take the spot and the fans settle back for a long wait, since in these situations the pitcher gets as much time as he needs to warm up.

Jorge Julio changed the script in the 8th. He was hit on a comebacker (not sure where), but made the play to first. Then he just walked off the field, vaguely waving his hand towards Montoyo as he went into the dugout.

Montoyo, quoted in the Herald-Sun, went out to the mound and met the umpire there:
“I told the umpire and laughed, ‘I don't know, I think he’s out.’ ”
Joe Bateman, who’d been warming up, came in and did a fine job. In fact, all of the Bulls relievers did a fine job last night. We just couldn’t get those last two runs we needed.

But that’s OK. It was a good night and if we didn’t win, we got to see some good baseball and one brilliant, beautiful moment. That’s enough to go back again … and again.

1 comment:

  1. that's one of the reasons I keep coming back.