It’s 9:34 pm right now and the Twins and Tigers are still playing baseball. Which wouldn’t be extraordinary in most any other circumstances, except that this is one-game playoff game. And the game started at 5. It’s the 12th inning, and 4 and 1/2 hours ago, these two divisional teams commenced playing at an aggravatingly early time spot.
A day game would have been television ratings suicide. A night game would have theoretically been wildly unfair to the team who had to hop a plane to the Bronx at 1am. A 5pm game seemed reasonable.
In the time since the first pitch has been thrown, I was able to finish up the last 2 hours of the work day, meet clients out for drinks, take a cab from Union Square to the Upper East Side, wash the dishes, and find a wireless network to connect to, so that I could watch the game with the computer on my lap.
And here we are, in the bottom of the 12th…
“This is epic,” my Minnesota-die-hard buddy texted me.
Does it get any better than this?
The Twins just won the Central Division, knocking out the Tigers in one of the most dramatic games played since the Yankees beat the Red Sox in Fenway in 1978, in a one-game AL East playoff.
It was one of those games where you just had to look at the context to really appreciate how truly poetic and stunning this night of baseball was. The final game in the Twins’ unconventional Metrodome housed the most exciting game the arena had ever witnessed.
The Twins, who boast the MVP front runner Joe Mauer, were able to overcome a 7-game deficit that the Tigers loosely dangled above them as recently as a few weeks ago.
Their organic, captivating, homegrown talent endured for just long enough this year–the second consecutive year they stretched their regular season out to 163 games. But this year, they were the team that won the opportunity to see game 164.
The Twins were down 3-0 when I left work. I “surreptiously” managed to check the score (well, in my head, it was discrete, anyway…) between Pear-Cactus margaritas: 3-1? Alright, you tell ’em, Twinks. Let the administration know you mean business…
Then: “??!?! 4-3?? The Twins are up?”
6:20pm text from Chicago buddy: “As a wsox fan. I am still holding out for a bomb hitting stadium.”
7:38pm text from same buddy: “You’re not watching?? It’s been a great one…Porcello taken out way too early.”
At 8:55pm, I bit the bullet and called someone to request a running commentary of the game until I could be within striking distance of a tv. I’m sure he was thrilled to have this now 5-5 game interrupted with someone who asked, “Ok, what’s the count now?” every 2 seconds.
The game was almost over about 30,118 times before Alex Casillo eventually drove in the winning run. Bases loaded, 2-out jams seemed to define the extra innings of this game, like it was one of those self-imagined childhood scenarios where you’re on the mound of an empty little league field, pretending you’re in Game 7 of the World Series.
It really was just baseball at its finest.
Clutch hitting, gritty defense, unrelenting pitching, undaunted offense. Catalogue this one in the “never wanted it to end” file.
Seriously, I wanted it to go on for 29 innings, and admittedly not because of my pure love of the sport, but because I’d much prefer to face a team who depleted the lion’s share of their bullpen in night prior.
Sorry, I’m done lionizing the Central Division. It’s the playoffs, the Yankees have their opponent, and manic animosity has officially eclipsed my bright-eyed spectatorship.
Bring on the Twinkies. I’ll concede that game was extraordinary, but the finest baseball has yet to been played. Because we’re still 20 hours away from opening the postseason in the Bronx.
Do or die time, etc. Never stop fighting. I don’t know if the results of this all-time classic game will ultimately work out to the Yankees’ benefit or not.
…What I do know is that in kickboxing/self-defense classes, they teach you that you don’t do anything once you stop attacking. You do nothing because you never stop attacking.
Let’s go, Yanks.
(Oh, and congrats, Twins. See ya in the boogey down.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 6, 2009