Bottom of the 11th inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, Justin Ruggiano at bat. I start packing up and turn to my seatmate, “Ready to go?” I ask. She nods. Off to the north the sky is filled with lightning flashes. Music from “The Natural” plays in my head.
Ruggiano hits his obligatory walk-off shot to center field. Bulls win.
We head for home, getting to the car just before a real frog-swallower of a rainstorm.
But there was more to the game than that. In fact, the game never should have gone to the 11th. Before and after the game was tied in the 6th on a very odd play, the Bulls had runners on second and third base several times and could not get them across. Even Ruggiano missed a bases-loaded opportunity in the 4th.
About that odd play. An oddity of the rules is that if a foul ball is caught, runners on base can go after tagging up. In this case Indian outfielder Corey Wimberly was on third base and shortstop Pedro Ciriaco hit a foul ball deep behind third base, almost to the tarp. The Bulls Felipe Lopez chased it down and caught it going away. Wimberly tagged up and made it home ahead of Lopez’s throw. Should Lopez have just dropped the ball? Hard to tell. I do remember Chris Richard (Bulls first baseman for a number of years) doing that once when he was way out of position chasing a foul ball and there was a runner on third. He just let the ball drop. By the way, Ciriaco gets sac fly credit for a foul ball.
The busiest Bull last night was shortstop Ray Olmedo. I have him down for 13 outs (out of 33), 5 line drives caught, seven grounders to first, and a 4-6 play at second. Great night, not to mention reaching base five times in his six plate appearances (two singles, reached on an error, and an intentional walk (!)).
More and more to like about Edgar Gonzalez. Seven solid innings last night.
Last bit of quirkiness. In the 6th inning Charlie Montoyo went out to the mound, apparently to discuss defensive tactics in a two-out, runners on first and second situation. So the gathering at the mound was Montoyo, Gonzalez, Chirinos, Lopez, Olmedo, Luna, and Anderson. Here’s what’s quirky about that: everyone at the meeting was a native speaker of Spanish. Welcome to 21st Century American baseball.
Photo pull below is from 8:32 this morning. Tarp is off after last night's post-game deluge. Game time (national TV) is 11:05. Hope the Bulls are feeling more rested than I do.