Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The epic baseball disaster of May 15, 2009
While a little slow in finally getting around to make this post, I feel it still worthy to do for the simple fact that I like to wallow in my baseball misery. Cleveland fans typically wallow, for we do it better than any other fan that except for, of course, the common Cub fan. But on Friday, May 15, 2009, my sorrows spread from not just my beloved Indians but to a couple other teams as well.
All started well as I was in Kansas City, Kansas visiting some old colleagues and ready to take in baseball in a stadium I never had the pleasure of entering. The weather forecast was ominous with a touch of death expected by early afternoon. The good news was that trusty weather.com told us that by game time, the storms would taper off leaving us a lovely night of baseball. At 5:30pm, we left Kansas for the Missouri stadium. At 5:31pm, the heavens opened.
We arrived in Arrowhead Stadium's parking lot at approximately 6:20pm and illegally veered away from proper parking to reserved parking (criminals!) for fear of the rain. At 7pm, we were hardly surprised to learn that the game would not be starting on time as but 5 minutes from first pitch, the rain fell harder than ever. Lightning struck around us and Kaufman Stadium had some bizarre lighting and siren system that signaled the end times. Meanwhile, some PR goof with a microphone was allowed to roam the stadium asking Family Feud type questions which were shown on Kansas City's ultra-mega-super humongous scoreboard which was easily visible from the truck the four of us were waiting out the rain delay. He probably died in a lightning strike.
We, however, were listening to some sports talk radio, getting regular updates on the games in the other parts of the country where the world wasn't ending. Among the games of interest were my Cleveland Indians taking on the defending American League Champions, Tampa Bay Rays, and my adopted, very close second favorite team the Minnesota Twins in New York to play the Yankees. Both began marvelously as early leads for both Cleveland and Minnesota tempered the crabbiness that only accompanies sitting in the back of a pick-up truck with leg room measured in centimeters.
The local feed took over the sports talk station to give us an estimate of 8:30pm as being the new start time. 90 minutes. Well, it's not great, but at least they are trying to get the game in. Royals' ace Zack Greinke was to pitch and by all means, the home field advantage had Kansas City trying desperately to get him in on normal days rest. To further matters, Friday night happened to be fireworks night and some food promotion that in combination with Greinke managed to sell out a game in Kansas City, which to the best of my (limited) knowledge hasn't happened since 1964. With this in mind, all must wait every last minute in an attempt to get the game in!
8:30pm: Hurricane Hallmark was no closer to letting up. The lightning was as frequent and intense as ever and the rain was coming down like taking a shower. After over two hours of waiting, the group agreed to call it a night and hope to get a doubleheader in tomorrow.
9:00pm: After scurrying away from the epicenter of weather disaster, the group stumbled upon some local eatery in which we gobbled down some necessary sustenance after hours with nothing more than Doritos and Lays (of which I ate none, forever holding out that I'd be able redeem my Friday food voucher). Upon sitting down, we find that Minnesota has a 2-run lead heading into the 9th inning. Beautiful! Likewise, Cleveland is dominating Tampa with a 7-run lead. All is well and made even more well by peperoni pizza.
Shortly before 9:15, the evening's tone changed dramatically. The local joint had a band playing. A loud band for which there was a $5 cover charge that we avoided by simply going in a second entrance. One of the group decided to point out that an Asian man in the street was up to no good at just the moment the band stopped playing, leading to an uncomfortable moment in which all of us were thought to be racist. The god of Shin Soo Choo was not amused, and the baseball tables turned.
For immediately there following the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles began playing baseball. Our tickets were worthless, our free food gone, and the fireworks fizzled out. No doubleheader, no Zach Greinke, and still no leg room. But hey, at least we had pizza, we had the Indians up 7, and the Twins had Joe Nathan. A sure lock for at least something positive.
1.) Some guy named Gardner triples.
2.) Mark Teixiera singles home a run.
3.) A-Rod walks.
4.) Matsui whiffs, one down.
5.) Swisher grounds out, two down.
6.) Intentionally walk Robinson Cano to get the force out.
7.) Melky Cabrera inexplicably singles to center, scoring two runs and winning a game against the steady hand of Joe Nathan.
Understandably, I'm the only individual in the local eatery upset about these seven batters and the outcome of this game. I'm probably a little more upset given that I just missed out on one of two baseball games I hopped on a plane to see, but hey at least Cleveland is thrashing the Rays by seven.
Tampa Bay 8
Anthony Reyes given a massive lead couldn't get out of the 6th inning. Tony Sipp graced everyone with a six pitch walk, throwing a wild pitch for good measure. Jensen Lewis, in one inning of work, managed a WHIP of 3.00. Rafael Betancourt gave up a home run to a career .230 hitter. Luis Vzcaino made his Cleveland debut by failing to record an out and allowing BJ Upton (hitting .190 on the season) to walk off with a game winning home run. Since then, Cleveland has yet to win a game managing to lose by blowing a 3 run lead with their closer on the hill and a game in which a line-up snafu eliminated the designated hitter thereby allowing the pitcher to get in on the embarrassment with an RBI double.
And so concludes the epic baseball disaster of May 15, 2009. A typhoon wasting away Kansas City tickets, a closer gone astray in New York, and the laughable saga of the worse team in baseball pissing away a seven run lead all combined to an absolutely horrific baseball evening.