Whenever I’m watching one of those post-game interviews where Tina Curvaceous chats up Terry Francona, there are certain moments I expect — and in many ways pray — to see Tito flip out, grab the NESN mic from her hand, and proceed to whap her (gently) across the head and neck.
If ever there was a post-game for this to occur, it was yesterday’s.
I mean, seriously, come on. For a guy who seems so super-cool and even-keeled, even Tito must have felt his balls drop a foot while watching this one unfold. After Saturday’s game was lost on a series of missed opportunities and miscues, yesterday’s should have been the “gettin’ back on that horse” moment. I mean, these are the Seattle Mariners. And not your dad’s Seattle Mariners, either. They’ve got guys named Putz and Bloomquist. That’s like an accounting firm, man! You don’t let these guys embarass you. Quite the opposite, you’re supposed to leave them lying about the field, underwear pulled over their heads, while your team bus crushes their T-shirt and pennant cart.
But, no. This one played out like a “worst ways to lose a game” compilation, lowlighted by that bizarre theatre piece of a play by Coco and Manny in which Coco misjudged an Adrian Beltre fly ball by a country mile and Manny, so swept up in the magic, simply flailed around, pointing at the ball as it caromed away from both of them. By the time it all ended — with Beltre achieving Safeco’s first-ever inside-the-park home run — I almost expected the cast of The Cannonball Run to come blazing onto the field. It was that surreal.
In the top of the ninth, with Manny at the plate, I was thinking, “Okay. Redemption.” But Manny struck out on a ball in the dirt, and I promptly bit a hole in the couch. So Tek comes up with the game in his hands, and that’s not a good role for him these days. But he came up big with one of those dingers you know is lost to Venus the minute it leaves the bat. And suddenly, there was joy. There was a chance. And then… there was Richie Sexson. And there you have it.
I’ll take the blowouts any day. You know they’re coming. You just sit back and take your medicine. But games like these… they burn inside me for a long, long time. Because they can come back to haunt you in October, when it’s time to count all the jellybeans in the jar. If we come up one short, this’ll be the one I’ll point to. Ugh.
See you tonight for the late show, starring Beckett and Zito.