Final Score: Nationals 3, Astros 2
Dame of the Game:
Roger Bernadina: 0-2, R, 2 BB, K, Game Saving Catch. Danny Espinosa had this thing locked up. All three RBIs, including a home run and a presumably game winning hit. But then, well, you know.
Shame of the Game:
Ryan Zimmerman: 0-5, 4 K. They call this a “golden sombrero,” but that seems racist to me. Why is it especially bad just because it’s Mexican? Why not call it a “Shimmering Chapeau” or a “Towering Top Hat”?
You might think it’s hypocritical of me to accuse something of being racist given the title of this post, but a) it’s too perfect, and b) actually that’s the only excuse I need.
Let’s just skip to the end on this one, shall we. Sure, there were 11 and 5/6 innings of occasionally tense and mostly pretty boring baseball beforehand. Sure, Ross Detwiler and Danny Espinosa did “well.” Who cares. Aside from all the Ross Detwiler and Danny Espinosa stalkers out there, of course, of which I’m sure there are hundreds. For normal people, though, only one thing happened in this game worth caring about.
Baseball plays usually happen pretty fast. The buildup to plays tends to be very slow–lots of people staring at each other, people slapping and poking themselves, people waggling things, hopping up and down, shaking their heads furiously, chewing on something disgusting, adjusting their penises to the optimal Baseball Ready Penis Position. It’s all very dramatic and/or ridiculous, depending on your perspective. But usually after a pitch is thrown, you pretty much know the outcome right away. Thus, a viewer’s experience of a baseball play often has just two emotional states: Before and After.
The last play of yesterday’s game was an exception to this rule. For me, the 2-2 pitch from Tyler Clippard to Brett Wallace took me through a full five-step emotional journey. Here are those steps:
- Impending Doom (roughly 2 minutes). I am feeling beyond nervous right now. For several innings now I’ve had this nagging feeling that if the Nationals were to get a lead, Clippard would come in and fuck things up. He’s warmed up four innings in a row for just that purpose. Now he’s in the game, and he looks bad . Like someone replaced his right arm with a cloned version of his left arm. At this point I’m just hoping he can get out of the inning with a tie.
- Doom, Impended (roughly 2 seconds). Well…fucksichords. He did it. He gave Brett Wallace a fastball out over the plate, and Mr. Wallace fairly predictably hit it somewhere very far away in the general direction of left center field. Doing a quick analysis of the angle at which the ball left the bat, the location on the bat of its contact, and the self-congratulatory look with which Brett Wallace admired its initial flight, my rational brain deduced two potential outcomes: home run, Nationals lose 5-3 (~50%), and two-RBI double, Nationals lose 4-3 (~50%). Goodbye, pleasant, restful sleep. Hello, night of fitful tossing and turning interspersed with nightmares of everyone I’ve ever loved having sex with Brett Wallace.
- Hope? (roughly 2 seconds, again). Now, wait, who do we have playing center field? Because he’s acting like the ball might actually land in a place where he could put his glove first. Wait, that’s…Roger Bernadina. The only man in the world who could possibly catch this baseball short of Usain Bolt wearing a black hole instead of a glove. Okay. I will not shut this game off in disgust quite yet.
- Confusion and Ignorance (roughly 1 second in actual time, several decades in perceived time). Roger Bernadina and the baseball both just disappeared behind some kind of weird pillar that the Astros have on that left center field wall for some reason. What happened to the hunter and the hunted? Did they both catapult through a rift in this dimension, never to be seen again? If so, who wins the game? And how much will the Astros get sued for building a stadium with an irreversible dimensional portal? I just don’t know the answer to any of these questions. There is nothing more frustrating than ignorance, except maybe the Nationals losing to the Astros.
- Euphoric Disbelief (a few hours). Oh..dear…I…how…yes…(at this point my mind stopped talking to itself coherently and instead just produced a string of feelings about Roger Bernadina that, frankly, would probably deeply disturb him if he were ever made aware of them)
There was actually a sixth emotional state, namely “severe embarrassment that a team I like almost lost to the Astros.” Let’s just ignore that one for now.