Last night proved once again that you simply have to stay until the end of a baseball game, whether that’s the 27th out or the final out or run scored in extra innings.
So after blowing a 7-2 lead to the Evil Empire last night, the mighty Sox were down to their final strike in the ninth inning. Mariano Rivera, the great God of closers, was on the mound. Mike Napoli, the strike out leader for the Sox with 171 so far this season, was up with two strikes. The Yunkee fans were all on their feet screaming for the final punch out, an amazing comeback, and an important win as their long season was hanging by a thread.
And I had my hand on the off button on my iPad so I wouldn’t have to see the Bronx celebration.
If you’re reading this post, you probably already know the outcome. Napoli scratches out a hit. Recent Sox acquiree and speedster Quintin Barry replaces Napoli on first, steals second and gets to third on a bad throw and a missed stop by hobbled Derek Jeter. Stephen Drew, unsung Sox player who was 0-4 already, scratches out a single, and the Sox tie the game. Rivera blows (another) save opportunity against my heroes.
So if you had left the stadium, as perhaps half of the Bronx fans had already done, or switched off your TV, iPad, or radio, you missed the come back.
Then it was another 15 minutes or so before the Yankees further imploded with Soriano getting greedy trying to steal third after having swiped second. He was caught. The Sox got out of the inning with the next batter.
In the 10th, after a blown call by an umpire on whether Shane Victorino had swung or not, benefiit to the Sox, chubby Joba Chamberlain gave up a go ahead RBI to one of this year’s key Sox players (Victorino).
Koji Uehara, the not so surprising Sox closer (to those who have followed his career closely), and perhaps the new, next God of closers, shut down the Yunks in the bottom of the 10th.
Four hours and thirty-two minutes.
And if you hadn’t stayed through the end of the 9th and on to the 10th, you woulda missed it.
There were enough mistakes by both teams, their managers, and the umpires to fill another post, but I’ll spare you that.
Suffice it to say, Thursday night’s game was simply another confirmation that no matter what, you have to stay until the end.
(PS – Elsewhere I’ve written why you also have to be at the park for the first inning, as the three hardest outs are not at the end of a game but in the first inning, when most runs are scored, before the pitchers settle in and while the offensive teams have their best hitters lined up).