We have come to another Friday, here in the middle of October. First round of the baseball playoffs are done - things worked out pretty much as I expected, or hoped - I wish Houston had beaten KC, but I don't mind KC; the other three series all went the way I hoped. (And mostly expected - Dodgers are notorious chokers; Cards were ripe for a fall.) So now? I continue to think Toronto will win out in the AL. NL is harder - Cubs are a better balanced team, but the Mets have al that front line pitching, and a kind of drive to win... One must always steer around the Cubs' history - but that's mostly a product of organizational ineptitude, that makes it so they only get a half-chance every decade or two - post-season appearances are rare enough that their failings are just normal. So - with a real good team (not the first real good team they're fielded), they are as likely to win as anyone. So all right - Cubs and Blue Jays it is; Jays win it all.
And I can't not mention the 7th inning of that Toronto/Texas game. How do you describe that? So Martin throws the ball back to the pitcher,but it hits Choo's bat - the umpire calls time, but the the runner on third comes home. The Umps talk - they realize the ball was alive, they should not have called time, so the run scores. The Jays go wild and play under protest - the fans start showering the field with garbage. The inning plays out. Bottom of the 7th, a simple grounder to Andrus, he kicks it. A simple grounder to first and Moreland bounces it to Andrus. 2 up, 2 errors, 2 on. A bunt, Beltre fields it, routine toss to third, where Andrus drops it. 3 up 3 errors 3 on. Then - a force at home, and a hard slide, and a long debate about whether the batter should be called out because of the slide. (He wasn't.) Then Donaldson hits a simple pop up/soft liner to second but Odor misses it - but Choo throws out the runner at second, run in, 2 out, runners at the corners. Joey Bats comes up. The ball goes a mile - the bat goes half a mile - the crowd goes wild. After the celebrations start to settle down, Encarnacion comes up - trying to calm the crowd, who are still throwing shit around... The pitcher comes in to whine. Benches clear. Game resumes. Inning ends, pitcher get Tulo on a pop up, and comes in and gives him a friendly butt pat - benches clear!
It is a beautiful thing. Being a Blue Jays supporter (in the absence of the Sox, obviously), I am inclined to point and laugh - except Texas is kind of the other fall back team when the Sox aren't around, especially with Cole Hamels, who I like as well. I feel sorry for them - especially Hamels - he must have thought he'd just woken up and the last 2 months were just a dream - he was still on the Phillies! kicking the ball around the infield.... But still. Attempts to gin up "controversy" about Bautista's bat flip are amusing - that home run in that situation - what is he supposed to do? There's nothing on earth he could do that isn't "styling" right there - he puts his head down and runs the bases, it's every bit as much as act as throwing the bat. Now - that said - ca you blame the pitchers? especially Hamels, who can't exactly say, if the manager left me in there - if the other guy hadn't served up a meatball.. They are doing what pitchers do - batters celebrate; pitchers whine; both are right and proper parts of the ritual of a big post season home run. And I suppose we should always keep a few old fogie sportswriters around to wring their hands and shake their hoary heads and write think pieces about culture.... But the rest of us can just sit back and enjoy it.
All right - and some music....
1. Loren Connors - Airs No. 18
2. Pavement - Newark Wilder
3. Liars - Too Much, Too Much
4. The Rolling Stones - Let It Loose
5. Franz Ferdinand - Treason! Animals
6. Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty
7. The M's - Good Morning, Good Morning
8. Blondie - Rapture
9. Spoon - Goodnight Laura
10. PJ Harvey - Down by the Water
Video - we do need some Blondie today.