The baseball gods tried to tell me to go to bed tonight. Despite having the Extra Innings package, I couldn’t watch this game on TV because it was marked as an MLB Network broadcast, even though the MLB Network dropped it everywhere but Pittsburgh in favor of the Giants and Rockies. While a well-adjusted person might have given up right at that point, I’ve never claimed that, so I put the game on my computer to listen to while I worked on some FanHouse stuff and a post about Garrett Jones for tomorrow.
Things seemed to be going reasonably well, but the one-run lead was making me more than a little nervous. Still, I put the computer down when I finished the Jones post during the top of the ninth and did some typical contact removal, teeth brushing, late night stuff. I came back to Matt Capps face in the sidebar, a dot on the base paths, and the worst runs a baseball fan can encounter: “Ball in play, run(s).” Tie game, coupled with that feeling that’s not quite unlike being carsick that often accompanies Matt Capps appearances in 2009.
I should’ve turned the game off then and gone to bed because I’ve seen this movie before and I know how it ends, but I pressed on. “We’ve got two innings out of Hanrahan and if we don’t score in them, we’ll lose,” I thought to myself. Hanrahan shut down the Dodgers for two innings, but of course the Pirates failed to score. Steven Jackson came in, served up a one-run triple in the twelfth, and somehow got out of the inning. I allowed myself a brief thought that maybe this game would be different, simply because they can’t all end the same way, can they?
Still, when the Pirates scored in the top of the 13th, my first thought was, “There’s no way this is enough.” When the bottom of the 13th started, the audio feed crapped out (Yeah, I probably pay $150 between the Extra Innings package and GameDay audio and yet, I couldn’t watch or hear the end of this game. No sport hates its fans as much as Major League Baseball) and Chris Bootcheck came in. “Gooooo to bed,” one voice in my head said. Unfortunately, I listened to the other voice, the one that said, “You’ve made it this far, keep going!” Bootcheck put a runner on, got an out, and was replaced by Phil Dumatrait. With no video available and no audio feed, I saw a little red line release from the general direction of Pixel Phil Dumatrait and land waist high on Pixel Andre Ethier, right over the inside part of the plate. Blue dot. In play. I looked to the bottom of the screen. “Ball in play, run(s).” I didn’t even have to wait for the next message. I knew.
Now, it’s almost three AM and I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach, because I elected to stay up for a baseball game that I couldn’t watch any of, couldn’t even listen to the end of, and fully expected the Pirates to lose the entire time.