Posh and I got a late start on the walk to the ballpark on Sunday — way, way late. There Brewers and Nationals had already played for an hour. I flicked the radio on for one second as we walked out the door and heard Uecker say “We go to the bottom of the 5th, no score.”
We heard cheers as we approached the park and wondered what was happening inside. We’ve missed many, many Ryan Braun home runs this year as we waited for our tickets to scan, waited on an escalator or walked behind the batter’s eye. My friend Danny was waiting for a bloody mary behind home plate.
“What’s going on?” I said, gesturing to the cheers bouncing off the rafters.
“Sac fly,” he said. “It’s 1-1. Yeah, we got a pretty late call today. We didn’t get up until 12:30.”
“Well, we just walked in,” Posh said.
“Yeah, you know, it’s tied, so it’s like the game just started,” I joked. “Who knows, maybe we’ll get some extra innings — I don’t have anything to do today.”
The popcorn and the bloody mary we bought didn’t last long, and neither did the tie. We were standing on the second level on the first base side. In the 8th, Éric Serge Gagné struck out Emilio Bonifacio. OK, that’s a good start. He gets Cristian Guzman, not bad. Now he’s working this guy to a 2-2 count with two outs… annnnd he gives up a ground rule double.
“What the hell was that?” Posh said. “Gagné sucks. Take him out!”
“Hey, he’s been pitching well lately,” I said. “He could strike this next guy out.”
Instead, he gave up a two-run home run. And then, before we could turn our backs to get ice cream, he gave up another one. His name was Lastings Milledge.
“Face it. Gagné sucks.”
“You’re right. But look, Gabe Kapler is up.”
“He’s going to strike out,” Posh said. “That’s all he’s been doing lately.”
Kapler did strike out. We wandered around to the right field bleachers, and then the left field bleachers because the sun still shone there. In the meantime, Prince walked, Bill Hall hit a infield single and Mike Cameron walked. And then Mike Rivera hit it our way.
“They tied it!”
“Did they all get around?! Yeah!”
Salomón Torres kept the Nationals in check in the 9th. Kapler came up, and I shot an encouraging glance to Posh. She was not optimistic. He struck out.
“I believe in you, Gabey Baby, but you have to believe in yourself,” Posh joked as Kapler sulked back to the dugout with his head hanging. “See, he’s too upset with himself.”
Kapler came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th and flied out to left. We murmured about how that was an improvement from striking out. M’boy Villanueva! came into the game and kept that shit locked down, per usual, in the 11th and 12th, striking out three batters. In the middle of the 12th, a familiar announcement rang through the park:
“Ladies and gentleman, please turn your attention down the left field line for your world famous Klements racing sausages!”
Bonus sausage race? Oh, fuck yeah. Guillermo Mota even pitched well. By the bottom of the 13th, we were sitting at the cocktail tables next to the right field foul pole, and I was thinking again about how I’ve always wanted to see someone ding the pole, FTW. The scoreboard was showing Kapler coming up again.
“He’s 0-6 today,” she said. “All right. Let’s go.”
Kapler walloped a pitch down the left field line. From our angle, we got to watch it arch toward the wall in profile. It’s got the height — if it stays fair… and it bangs the foul pole and lands back in left center. Gabe Kapler, FTW.
And who saw it coming? Posh, for one. For another, the mysterious Conspiracy Cowboy:
“Hello, all of you people out there. You may not realize it, but this Gabe ‘the Body’ Kapler is actually a biologically grown android from the future, sent here to win baseball games. It’s true. He is here to dominate the diamond. And he will continue to do so. He will continue.”