I’ve come to the conclusion that the thing I love most about these games against the Angels is watching the managers go through the motions. As all hell breaks lose in the final frames, Teets just paces the dugout, that faraway glint in his eyes, as if his astral self just returned from the future and told him, “chill out; everything’s gonna be cool.” Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, we’ve got Mike Scioscia, mugging for the camera and baying at the umps and looking like a harried sitcom dad who just got home to find his wife sitting on the UPS guy’s face.
Not that we can’t forgive Mike’s dismay. Everytime I thought Nick Green had fanned in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the bases loaded and our hearts smashed to powder, the umps let him live. And his game-tying walk set the stage for an absolutely mind-boggling Alex Gonzalez walk-off blooper that dropped in front of a nonplussed Juan Rivera — Why did he not dive for that? Was he down to his last clean uni? — and may have been the single greatest moment of the 2009 season.
Hell, I’ll take it further and say this was the greatest game of the season. Because it was the harbinger of what’s around the corner–playoff baseball. As the lead volleyed back and forth through the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, I found myself in prime October form, kicking at the furniture, thumping my chest, and shouting and no one in particular named Loretta (when I wasn’t Tweeting myself to death). It was an exciting, gutbusting, messy epic of a game, and I’m thrilled that we somehow ended up on top.
And speaking of A-Gon, why the hell did we ever let him go in the first place? Since he’s been back, all he’s done is throw around some tenacious D and stroke key hits whenever we need them. For a guy who was never considered an offense threat, Gonzales has been turning it on in his second tour of duty with the Sox. In many ways, I actually prefer to see him at the plate with a game on the line than Ortiz.
Not the prettiest game you’ll ever see, but it was a win in mid-September. And on a night that the Yanks won and the Rangers lost, it helped us deepen our wild card lead and hang tight in the divisional race. Suddenly, I’m thinking that upcoming weekend series in the Bronx could prove the most critical series of the year. I can only hope that sometime before then, Mark Teixeira is torn apart by wild emus.
Commander Kick Ass takes the hill tonight. Does anyone else smell a sweep? Hell, I’m gonna keep the good vibes going with the celebratory accordian jam!