Thursday, June 3, 2010

9th inning nervous breakdowns

So there we were, safe at home and comfortably ensconced on the couch with the lovely and generous Mrs. Tao after a night of birthday boozing topped off with some ill-advised McNuggets. The Jays were leading in the ninth, and there's no way the fates would allow us to suffer through another late inning shitshow. Right?

Oh, how we wish the fates truly intervened in such things.

A great take-out slide from Ben Zobrist, a ballsy suicide squeeze, some more relief pitcher nibbling and Carl Motherfucking Crawford, and suddenly a series win turns precisely into the aforementioned late inning shitshow. By the end of it, we were sure that someone had laced our sweet and sour sauce with something goofy, because nothing seemed to compute any more.

And the rest of the night turned into a full blown peyote vision or fever dream or something. Junior Griffey retires? Armando Galarraga throws a perfect game? Except that he doesn't. because the grumpy dad from that American Chopper show miss the easy call by a full stride at first base? The sports channels lead off with three baseball stories, on the night of a Stanley Cup Finals game? My god! Someone, strap me down! I hear the Sirens singing!

By the time I had sweated out the rest of my booze and grease at about 3 am, we were sure that we'd imagined most of the evenings events. But if we hadn't, the one thing that we could rationalize about them was this: The Rays are a really good team. The sort of really good team that is going to make you work for all 27 outs, and that can make you fill out the full column on your scorecard at any given time. That's why they're in first.

And that's why we shouldn't completely take this series to mean that the Jays aren't good. They took the Rays to the limit in all three games, and with some sturdier bullpen work and bullpen management, they could have taken all three games.

Hopefully, we're not drifting to far into cliché here - we're not sure that the booze is totally out of our system, so this might be an "I love you guys, man!" moment - but we're optimistic that the Jays could walk away from the series and use is as a learning moment. Maybe all of that character-building hokum is real, and the team is going to walk away with the notion that they should have won, and they could have won, and most importantly, they are going to win next time.

And then they can take their frustrations out on the Yankees. Who deserve it.


Leaker19 said...

I think it is unconscionable to leave an obviously tiring Marcum in there to absorb the loss.

What is this team's goal? Is it development or contention? I'm not sure which it is and I cannot tell by the way Cito is running things. If this is a what the hell year anyway, throw Purcey out there in the 9th. See how the Rays like a hard-throwing lefty after 8 innings of finesse righty.

Ol' Cito needs a little more flexibility in his thinking. Look at Maddon, he's forfeiting the DH and telling guys not to switch hit against Marcum. Does he gain anedge in these measures? Who knows, but at least it shows he's thinking. Downs is a gamer, no doubt, but Crawford owns him. Still that's who Cito went with. Even though he had two other lefty arms out there. C'mon Cito, get with it! Think!

Patrick W. said...

if you'd have gotten barbeque sauce they'd have won

Holden Ballfield said...

Happy Birthday, Tao. I definitely feel your pain with the getting older thing. Sports stars used to seem so much older, but most of the players my age have already retired.

The Ack said...

yeah, really. Sweet & sour? C'mon, man..

Tao of Stieb said...

I didn't really want to go into my McNugget preferences, because that's a whole post to itself...but here goes:

I actually get barbecue AND sweet and sour, and on every dip, I dip in both sauces. It creates a whole new flavour sensation with each nugget.

Do I start with the BBQ, then go the S&S? The other way around? Do I go big on one and light on the other? Do I drown the nugget for all I'm worth?

Believe me, I've thought about this a lot.

Patrick W. said...

i just shed a slow, rolling tear

Team Scrappy said...

Tao at what point do we start comparing this bullpen with the Jays of the pre-Henke days? I'm not sure if any of these starters will break out a Steib stare of death from the bench when he's watching his 9 1/3 complete game go up in smoke.

McDonald's BBQ versus Wendys?

Holden Ballfield said...

BTW, Tao, props on the clever Stones-inspired title. Have you been following the AVClub cover songs thing? A band called The Wedding Present covered it this week.

Wendy's BBQ is similar to Bullseye. I prefer a lighter BBQ sauce on chicken or ribs, so I will go with McD's -- not that anyone asked.

Ian Hunter said...

Just like you guys, I think I'm spent after going through these ninth inning blowups. Need a day to recover so we can feast on A.J. Burnett.

This might make me sound like a six year old, but it's honey or nothing for me.

Dave04 said...

Watching the ninth last night all I could think from the start is WTF is Marcum still doing in there? C'mon Cito et off your fat ass and pull him! And that thought got louder and louder as the Rays beat up on him. What a painful night all around

I'll take any dipping sauce that isn't chipolte - that shit is awful

Joanna said...

I prefer honey.

Happy Birthday. These games really sucked hard.

Jaysfan26 said...

"the grumpy dad from that American Chopper show"...

That gold Jerry!

Anonymous said...

As if watching Jays killer Carl Crawford continue his serial killing and seeing the Rays jinx go on isn't bad enough... it also happens on the same day of the (possibly) shittest call in all of baseball history.

I don't even like the Tigers and I feel really bad for Galarraga - he got robbed of a perfect game with one out away?! I don't know what that ump was calling, but he's now branded for life. I don't think he should ever go back to Detroit (the crowd's applause is not for him, it's for Galarrag's classy act)

William J. Tasker said...

Both losses are pinned solely on Cito Gaston's ears. Awful managing. Simply awful.