Open Mouth, Insert...

Game Breaking Plays and Management

I have a job working evenings in a warehouse (er, distribution center) at what most people would consider a desk job. That affords me the ability to, among other things, listen to baseball telecasts over the web, particularly those featuring the Minnesota Twins. No one else seems to mind since it's become clear that listening doesn't interfere with my work. Such was the case this past evening as the Twins were finishing up a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. It was already a crazy day at work and the game was proving to be just as strange. The Twins had no problems getting men on base, but were having all sorts of trouble scoring them--the radio audience was told afterward that the team had left 17 men on base through nine innings! Still, they were only down 9-7 going into the bottom of the ninth. It was then that my boss' boss walked in to talk about some parts that the warehouse had been eyeballing all day. After a few minutes of discussion, we were interrupted by this bizarre wall of noise consisting of the voice of radio announcer John Gordon, which seemed to run through about fifteen different emotions in the course of two seconds, a joyous yelp from color commentator Dan Gladden, and as much of a roar of surprise as one can muster from a crowd of 20,000 in the Metrodome. This is what happened, as we learned moments later once the decibel levels abated: the Twins had scored earlier in the inning and were now down by one run, had runners on first and second, and were down to their last strike with right fielder (and Roch native) Michael Restovich at the plate. He swung and missed at strike three, but the catcher muffed the ball and it rolled away. Since the rules state that a batter can attempt to run to first base if the catcher drops a strike three, one would expect Restovich to scramble immediately down the line toward first, especially since his out would signal "game over" and a Twins' loss. For some reason though, he hesitated at the plate just long enough for Gordon to almost blurt out "He's not running!" before taking off. As luck would have it, the catcher's throw to first base was off the mark. Not only was Restovich safe, the lead runner had taken the opportunity to score from second base, tying the game! We took this in for a couple of beats, and my boss' boss simply said, "Wow." To which I replied, "Yeah, this has been a truly $@#%ed up game." p.s., Needless to say, the Twins won 10-9 in 10 innings.

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