I knew I wouldn’t be able to watch Saturday night’s Angels/Dodgers game so I set the DVR right before I left the house. It has to be a very special occasion for me to miss a live game and since the BBQ/Poker Night/Memorial Day/Birthday Party was for moi, I felt obligated to attend. (If I hadn’t my sister would’ve hurt me.) I did, however, outline a couple of conditions: 1. The TV could be on but only for the Lakers/Nuggets game. I knew if I was careful, I could later watch the playback of the Angels game without knowing who won even if this meant listening in the car to my husband’s favorite mix CD. (Who has Sarah Brightman and Lady Ga-Ga on the same playlist? My husband.) 2. No one could force me to play Mexican Quarters again. (I have notoriously bad hand-eye coordination. Funny, but I have yet to get anyone to agree to a “Spelling Bee” type of drinking game…my only chance of emerging victorious and sober.)
My conditions were met, dinner was great, the cards were going my way and I was blissfully unaware of what might be going on at Chavez Ravine until I received a text message. It read, “Nooooooooo!!! I assume u r watching the game and know what I’m talking about. 😦 ” Sweet, sweet, Claire. My niece is well aware of my devotion to my Angels and never would have guessed I wasn’t watching the game. My husband immediately noticed the change in my demeanor but I did my best not to be a:
Back home at 2:00 AM, with my husband and the birds all tucked in, I grabbed the remote, took a deep breath and watched. When I set the DVR, I had another one of my “feelings” and extended the timer just in case there were extra innings. Good thinking. With the game tied 4-4 at the end of the 9th, I grabbed my cell phone and looked at the time stamp on my niece’s text message. 9:46 PM. That was during the 8th inning when the Dodgers tied it up. Maybe this could have a happy ending after all? If the game went 12 or 13 innings, she could’ve gone to bed, missed the Angels score the winning run(s) and wouldn’t have been able to send the second text message which would’ve said, “OMG! They did it! Yippppeeeee!!!!!!”, or something to that effect. For a brief moment I was optimistic again.
So, what’s almost as bad as losing a game without giving up a hit (6/28/08)? Walking in the winning run. I questioned Mike Scioscia’s decision to bring Scot Shields back in the 9th after he was off in the 8th and gave up the tying run. I also had to wonder why he stuck with Jose Arredondo in the 10th when he’d already given up 2 hits and a walk to load the bases. Sometimes Scioscia’s brilliant (bringing in the extra infielder in the 9th), sometimes he’s not. Oh well. I climbed into bed just before the sun came up, the deciding game of the “Freeway Series” a mere 8 hours away.
While Matt Palmer may not have gotten win #6, he didn’t get loss #1. He just didn’t have his usual finesse and the Dodgers touched him up for 4 runs (all in the 2nd) and were threatening more when he was pulled in the 5th. Jason Bulger and Justin Speier held off those pesky Dodgers for a while but they got to Darren Oliver in the 8th, scoring 2 more runs to make it a one-run game. But when the Angels came roaring back to score 3 runs in the 9th, Dodger fans headed for the exits. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and attribute it to LA traffic rather than lack of faith in their own team.
One of the things I love about the Angels is the way they always seem to take turns at being the “hero” of the game. One night, it’s a big home run by an unlikely source like Maicer Izturis, another night it’s Jeff Mathis laying down a perfect bunt for a suicide squeeze. You just never know who will contribute the deciding hit or the game-saving defensive play. So far this season, one player in particular has managed to outshine his teammates in both categories.
Torii Hunter leads the team with 37 RBI’s but who’s to know how many RBI’s he’s prevented with his gravity-defying acrobatics out in centerfield. He certainly didn’t disappoint today as he ran full-force into the wall to take an extra bag hit away from Matt Kemp. As he lay on the ground, the wind knocked out of him, he lifted his gloved hand into the air to display the ball. Understandably, it took a few moments for my Torii to get back on his feet. Those were some scary moments. I’d hate for my Torii to be hurt. The Angels would suffer terribly if he had to spend any time on the DL. Yes, the return of Vladimir Guerrero to the line-up tomorrow might be able to keep the offensive numbers up, but no one on the Angels roster (or any roster, in my opinion) could possibly make the plays my Torii makes in centerfield. If, God forbid, my Torii ever went on the DL, the Angels shouldn’t even bother looking around the rest of the major leagues for a suitable replacement. They’d be better off calling Cirque Du Soleil.
I know the weekend isn’t technically over, but here’s a quick rundown of the past three days:
Angels – won 2 games
Dodgers – won 1 game
American League – won 22 games
National League – won 20 games
Lucky Lori – won $11.50 (1 straight flush, 2 full houses)
Baseball…the art of performance.