Game 8: Funny game

Baseball is a funny game.

One day your team plays to perfection. The hits drop in the gaps. Your defense gets to every ball, and fields all of them cleanly. The pitcher is getting calls on the outside corner. All the stars align and everything goes your way …

Then there are days when the stars align for the other team -- no matter how different your win-loss records appear.

Today, it was the other team’s day, and we lost.


To a team that, so far this season, had six losses and no wins. ... We dropped to 5-3 with the loss.

It’s fair to say that, as the game progressed, some guys were taking the loss in stride, and some guys were taking it personally … After our manager accused the young manager of the other team for purposefully running up the score, the young manager hit a bomb over our manager’s head in left field. The young manager had a real shot at a triple, but instead trotted slowly into second base. Afterward, our second baseman asked the young manager why he didn’t try for third, to which the young manager said, “Your coach wouldn’t let me.”

I was in the group of guys that thought the exchange was a funny one.

You couldn't blame them for their excitment about knocking the cover off the ball and actually winning for once. These guys had been pounding at the door all summer. They’ve played hard, and their games have been close. I wasn’t out to jinx us, but I said before the game that I figured they were due for a win … I just didn’t expect it to be at our expense, much less a 22-1 beat down.

These guys were jumping on us from the beginning. They scored five runs in the first and crossed another six in the third … They were hitting the ball solidly up the middle and way out of the reach of any of our fielders.

Meanwhile, we couldn’t have hit the ball if it was a beach ball. Their pitcher was throwing as hard as anybody we’ve faced since our first loss in Week 2. Mix that in with some good sliders and an umpire that was calling a wide strike zone, and we looked at a lot of third strikes. We racked up 12 strikeouts in all, and just four hits. Our one run didn’t come until our final inning of at-bats.

I batted lead-off today and left with an 0-for-3 next to my name … I popped up foul to the first baseman in the first inning and grounded out to the first baseman in the fourth. During my last at-bat in the seventh, the pitcher buckled me up with a slider called for a strike on the first pitch, and I knew my fate right then … Slider, swing and a miss, strike two. Slider, swing and a miss, strike three.

If there was any glimmer for me to take away from the game, it was that I left the field feeling as proud of my defense on Sunday as I had all season. I started and played two innings in right field before moving to third base as part of a double switch/pitching change in the third.

At both of my positions, I fielded every ball cleanly and made the plays, including two choppers toward third base that I fielded cleanly and tossed to second base for crucial outs. I also took a perfectly-placed throw from a cutoff man to cut down a runner sliding into third base … It felt so good to execute those chances.

It’s funny how the one thing that hasn’t been right for me this season finally goes well … while everything else goes horribly wrong.

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