Game day

I had a tough, tough game today.

… I made a fielding error that cost us two runs. And I struck out three times -- with some help from the umpire. Had I fared differently, we might’ve won today …

Starting and playing my usual left field, I made a nice running catch to end the first inning, and I ran down a long ball later in the game with a little Soriano hop, as our center fielder called it …

But in the bottom of the third, with runners on first and third, I let one get over my head that allowed both runners to score. I misjudged it off the bat and then made a wrong turn as I went back on it. Not good … What was worse, I had just moved up on the batter; had I held my ground I would have been in prime position to catch the ball. And there were two outs in the inning; had I caught the ball we would’ve been out of the inning. Instead, the inning ended with us trailing 8-2 …

In the meantime at the plate, I batted in the sixth spot today and got my first chance in the second. Our opponent was throwing a guy that we’d hit well and I had all the confidence I needed as I stepped up … I took the first pitch for a strike and then swung and missed the second pitch. The third pitch was low and away -- and the umpire called it strike three … I subtly showed my disgust with the umpire, and the guys in the dugout backed me up on it. Still I should’ve been protecting the plate better with two strikes on me. I wasn’t going to put all the blame on the umpire. Yet.

But I got jipped again when I came up in the fifth inning -- with the bases loaded … That time I went looking for a good first pitch and fouled it off. Then the second pitch I saw even further off the plate then the one in my previous at-bat, and the umpire called it a strike again! Still worse, he reacted to his own call like he knew he missed it

“That’s OK. That makes up for the other ball you missed,” the catcher tells the umpire as the catcher’s making eye contact with me and rolling his eyes at the slew of bad calls.

“Yeah, I know, grumble grumble grumble,” says the umpire. … Now I really pride myself on being able to pick out the good pitches and staying away from the ones that should be called balls. But this umpire was all over the place. Frankly, he was barely in the game …

… And like that, my second at-bat ended when I foul-tipped the ball into the catcher’s mitt for another strikeout.

I got one more chance in the eighth -- a really good chance. We had just posted a six-running inning to tie the score at 8-8 and I came up with runners on second and third … Again, I was looking for a good first pitch and fouled a hot shot down the line that nearly took our off our third base coach’s head. Then I got a ball high and a ball low to force a 2-1 count. I was sitting in a good hitter’s count … Until the infielders called a conference at the mound. When the conference broke, it appeared they were going to intentionally walk me. I’ll take it, I thought. I’d been fouling off the good pitches all day and I’d like to think they knew I was bound to get a hold of one. I took it as a sign of respect. Only, they changed their minds a few seconds later and decided to make a pitching change instead -- in the middle of my at-bat … Great, now they're really playing with my psyche.

With the new pitcher, the umpire called another bad, outside strike on me to move the count to 2-2 -- you would think I’d seen enough to be swinging at those by now, but I still didn’t pull the trigger -- and then he got me swinging at a nasty slider for strike three. It was ugly.

We went back into the field with new life, but couldn’t hold ‘em in the top of the last inning. Our pitcher gave up a couple walks and some good, solid hits put them ahead 11-8.

We went 1-2-3 in our last at-bats, and that was the ball game.

Tough day.

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