As a left-coaster, the great thing about Cardinals games is their start time. Games begin at 5:10 local time and are typically over by 8:30 pm. Prior to having children, this posed a fantastic relationship – the game came on just as I got home, so I could enjoy it while making and eating dinner.
Once the children showed up, however, the game times fell in conflict with kid/Dad time, dinner, the bed time ritual, and so on. That, coupled with the propensity of my youngest to drag out actually going to sleep as long as possible, meant I got most of my Cardinal game updates by reading the recap once it’s over. The rise of the iTouch/iPhone has changed that somewhat, so I can sit with my youngest and still monitor the game. Multi-tasking at its finest.
Why am I sharing all this with you? Because this is the sequence of events that appeared on my mobile platform last night describing the bottom of the ninth. No context, just the prose.
- St Louis Manager T LaRussa ejected by M Carlson in the ninth. What the hey? My initial thought was LaRussa went out to argue something that happened in either the eighth inning or top of the ninth. ESPN mobile used to allow one to review the plays of each half inning; sadly that capability has been lost in 2010 (either that or its moved and I’m too stupid to figure out how to find it). Needless to say this was an odd way to start the ninth down by 2 runs. I found out later he was arguing balls and strikes during Molina’s at bat. As an aside, I loved Dan Haren’s comment about the whole event was just LaRussa’s way to delay the game and break his (Haren’s) rhythm. Really Danny? Guess it worked, didn’t it, since you gave up two singles after that? If you knew why LaRussa was doing it, why did you let it affect you?
- Y Molina singled to left, B Ryan singled to right, Y Molina to second. OK, great, tying runs on. Looking good….
- A Wainwright hit for J Motte. Brow furrows, scratch head. Why is Wainwright hitting for Motte? Ludwick, Miles, LaRue, Freese, Stavinoha all on the bench, right – why IN THE WORLD would Wainwright pinch hit here? Later I find out Miles had already hit for Carpenter, Freese and Ludwick are still hobbled with nagging owies, Heilman was brought in which eliminated Stavinoha, and the Cardinals weren’t going to use their back-up catcher as a pinch hitter. Had I been thinking clearly instead of multi-tasking, I might have figured out Wainwright was up there to bunt. Why waste a position player to sacrifice the runners over?
- A Heilman relieved D Haren. Makes sense, Haren’s probably gassed, Heilman’s the de facto closer in Arizona now that Chad Qualls has imploded.
- J Garcia ran for Y Molina. Kind of backs up the ‘don’t pinch-hit with LaRue’ theory. I guess La Russa was worried about Molina being cut down at third on the sacrifice attempt so he wanted a faster runner. It doesn’t say much for the Cardinal bench the fastest guy down there is the rookie pitcher, by the way. Now I’m paying more attention to my phone and less to my son – this half inning’s gotten crazy.
- A Wainwright grounded into a fielder’s choice to pitcher, J Garcia scored, B Ryan safe at third on throwing error by A Heilman, A Wainwright to second. Clearly Wainwright bunted, the ball was fielded by Heilman, who did indeed throw to third but sent the ball down the left field line. All right! Tying run at third, winning run at second, no one out, top of the order coming up.
- S Schumaker grounded into fielder’s choice to first, B Ryan and A Wainwright scored. I stared at this entry for at least 5 minutes. I couldn’t figure it out. How did Schumaker ground out to first, and yet Wainwright managed to score from second? I could see Ryan scoring from third with the infield back, but that made no sense because he was the tying run; the infield must have been in. Did D-backs first baseman LaRoche go to the bag, then try to throw home, like James Loney did on Sunday night against the Yankees, only the runner slid in under the tag? But none of that explained how Wainwright scored from second.
Cool Papa Bell was so fast he could allegedly turn off the lights and be in bed before the light bulb went out. I watched Willie McGee round second on a ground-rule double to CF in Minnesota during the 1985 All-Star game BEFORE the ball cleared the fence. Ichiro Suzuki is the fastest man in the majors, and he takes 3.2 seconds to run from the plate to first. There’s no way Wainwright’s that fast. The summary across my iTouch made no sense. My brain tripped off-line.
These are the kinds of things you deal with when you live 1500 miles away from the game action, marooned on a stool outside a bedroom waiting for a child to settle down and go to sleep.
LaRoche threw low to the plate trying to get Ryan coming down the line from third, the ball skipped away from D-back catcher Montero and both runs scored. That makes a lot more sense. It sure would have been nice if Mr. Baseball Stringer had mentioned the throwing error in his game summary instead of phrasing it the way he did.