Purgatory Online

Friday, August 12, 2005

You know, watching games via MLB's Gameday (or CBS's Sportsline, which I'm slowly coming to prefer) can be pretty nerve-wracking. You're squinting at a screen, waiting interminable seconds for the red circle, or the green circle or the loved/dreaded blue circle to appear in the oh-so-crisp, oh-so-irrelevant perfectly rectangular strike zone they've drawn next to the batter-doppelganger. It's much more nerve-wracking than actually watching a game; there's no rhythm to it, just instantaneous relief or pain. It's not baseball, in any meaningful sense of the word. And so I covet with nuclear intensity the Slingbox, a device that supposedly allows you to access your home cable programming and/or programs stored on your DVR from any broadband-connected PC on the planet.

But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I didn't see yesterday afternoon's game-ending play live; just a notation that Frankie Rodriguez had made an error allowing the runner to score from third. Since the ball hadn't been put into play, I assumed it was a wild pitch. Not particularly caring to see the highlights, I blew off SportsCenter last night, and only this morning read the accounts of how Rodriguez, disgusted by not getting a borderline strike call, flubbed the throw back to him by Jose Molina. I don't believe I've ever seen a game end that way at the professional level before; I may never have seen a run score that way at the professional level before. So I hit the Angels web site to watch for myself.

And then?

And then, I laughed. My. Ass. Off.

Because, come on, that's funny. Some kid gets all pissy about a strike call and pulls a little drama queen number on the mound, and forgets the most fundamental thing of all in the middle of a tight, important series. It's as if Kendall had fallen for the hidden-ball trick. Funny. And so I laughed.

Do I want to see it again? No, of course not. But neither do I have any intention of letting myself turn into the kind of person who lets a game on August 11 send him into despair. Baseball isn't life, folks, and if you're getting your philosphy from your clothes you need serious help. It's a great, great game, and sometimes you need to be able to appreciate when goofy shit goes down in a game, even when it goes against you.

As for whose fault these past couple of games have been...geez, hindsight is pretty good around the Halosphere lately. Shields comes in and blows a game in the seventh, and I read all about how that's supposed to be Donnelly's inning. Donnelly comes in the very next day and blows a game in the seventh, and I read all about how Donnelly has no business in a tight game. I keep expecting to see a "free Steve Solis" banner somewhere. The fact of the matter is the guys who get the blame for this are the guys who were throwing the ball (and failing to catch it). There's no Weapon X out there that Scioscia is failing to deploy; he's playing the cards he's been dealt. If they blow it, it's on them. Donnelly and Shields and Rodriguez have been around long enough to know that, and long enough to be given the benefit of the doubt over a couple of crappy performances.

Keep the faith, gang.