Very early on in this one, Tim Neverett and John Wehner mentioned that there was no home run hit in last night's 4-0 Pirate victory. They mentioned that in the huge majority of games at Great American Ballpark, someone hits a home run. And they mentioned that you could count on one hand the number of times that zero home runs were hit in back-to-back games at Great American.
"Great," I thought to myself at the time. "I'm going to be waiting for that home run all night."
I let the rational scientist in me tell me that that was an unfounded fear — that last night's game would have no effect on this one. I spent most of the game getting ready to bottle beer and bottling beer. Every time I knew the Reds were up and heard Neverett's voice raise, I looked around the corner, expecting the home run. The bottling was finished just as Jeff Locke came out of the game in the seventh inning. That meant it was time to go out and grab a drink before trivia.
"I don't like this," I said on the way out the door.
"What?" my friend asked me.
"When this game started, the Pirates' announcers mentioned that there have only been like three times in the history of the Reds' park where there have been back to back games without a home run," I said.
"And the Pirates won 4-0 last night without giving up a home run, and are winning 1-0 now and didn't score on a home run."
She looked at me like I was a crazy person. I decided that I probably was, at least a little bit. We went out and got the aforementioned drinks. I pulled out my phone and checked the score. Still 1-0 with Mark Melancon in. I let my rational self tell me that the home run threat had passed, that Melancon and Grilli were in and that it would be fine. I put my phone in my pocket.
On the way across the street, I pulled my phone out. Grilli on the mound. Jay Bruce at the plate. "In play, run(s)." The bases were empty. I knew what had happened.
On one hand, there is probability and rationality and the way that the universe should work. On the other hand, there is the voice that tells you that you don't live inside of a vacuum and that sometimes being probable and rational is just a way that you defend yourself from the inevitable, creeping truth. That's what watching this game was like. That's what being a Pirate fan with a 42-30 record in late June is like.