This is Why I Love Baseball

So I got this comment from my cousin Julie:

julie(squirt) | Tuesday, May 11, 2004 | 11:42 AM

hey ron, did you see the cubs game on sunday i watched the last 4 innings of it, it was really exciting.

As fate would have it, I did watch/listen to the game, and I intended to write a little something on it. As my brain is currently fried from working on some particularly zany PHP stuff, I thought I’d take a quick break and tell you all about it.

Kristin and I headed out to Chicago on Sunday to see my Mom (and Dad, while we were at it) for Mother’s Day (because we’re good children, unlike some other people.) After a wonderful dinner, and some sitting around and talking, we headed in to the TV room to watch a little bit of the game. It started to rain pretty hard, and the Cubs were down 1 (3-2). They had past the 5th inning, so if the game got called, it’d be an official game, and an L for the Cubs. With two down, Tom Goodwin nailed a double, scoring Lee who had singled. Right after that, they called for the tarps.. it was raining too hard. Now if the game was called, it was a tie. That was better than a loss… Goodwin’s two-out double was what we like to call “clutch”.

The rain delayed the game about 15 minutes, then we were back playing, and a Patterson strike-out ended the threat. [Still tied at 3]. Kristin and I stayed til the end of the 7th, when we had to take off for home. Once in the car, I tuned to WGN to listen to Ron Santo and Pat Hughes call the game (They’re the WGN guys I get to listen to when I listen to the web-stream of games at work, and I really enjoy them.) The game continued to the 9th, and the rain continued to fall off and on. The game was delayed a second time, and when the 9th inning was over, we were still tied at 3.

For the start of the 10th inning, the Cubs put in their closer, Joe Borowski. His first pitch was belted out for a home run. The next batter smashed one that was inches from being gone as well. He settled for a double. The next guy smashed one to the warning track, advancing the runner to third. At this point, I was less than confident in Joe’s ability to get out of the inning without any more damage. The next batter hit a bouncer to third… Ramirez looked the runner back to third, then whipped it to first for the out… only the runner from third darted for home. Lee instantly tossed it home to nail him at the plate. The play almost gave Ron Santo a heart attack.

So we’re in the bottom of the 10th, with the heart of the order: Sammy Sosa,Moises Alou, and Aramis Ramirez due up… but we had to wait for another rain delay. Finally the game started up again, and Sammy was up.. we needed a run. Well, Sammy flew out in short order… and Alou followed that up with a ground-out to third. It was all up to Ramirez… and with two down Ramirez belted one to deep left field that didn’t stop until it had safely cleared the ivy… If the radio is any indication, Ron Santo’s body exploded in a fit of pure euphoria. As for me, with each pitch, the radio got turned up a little louder.. at this point, we’re around the 40 mark. (for those of you that have gotten into the car when I started it up, and have been blasted by the loud music that starts up.. at best that’s set to 35.. so you’ve got an idea now..).

The game continued along past the 10th, to the 11th.. to the 12th.. to the thirteenth. I’m living and dying with every pitch. Suddenly, in the bottom of the 13th, the Cubs started to put some things together. Derrek Lee started the inning out with a single, and got pushed to 2nd on a great sacrifice bunt by Berrett. With one down and a man at second, they pitch around Ramon Martinez, and finally just intentionally walk him, to put men at first and 2nd. Now the Cubs need to avoid the double play. Glendon Rusch, the pitcher, was up. There was much confusion as to why they didn’t pinch-hit for him. (I read later that Todd Hollandsworth was unavailable with a right wrist injury, so Rusch had to bat.) Rusch managed to lay down a sweet sacrifice bunt that moved Lee to third and Martinez to second. Two outs. They decided to intentionally walk Jackson to get to Cory Patterson, who had struck out three times in the last 4 at bats, and just was not looking good at all that day… On the first pitch, Cory slapped a single to center field, scoring Lee, and giving the Cubs the W. At this point, the radio is blasting mostly static, and I realized I was about 10 miles from my house. The game had lasted the entire trip, and I hadn’t even noticed. This is why I love baseball. Go Cubs!

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