On Sunday, I met up with Andy, the manager of our softball team*, at the game. We sat in the baking sun on the left field line and a tremendous outing by Padres pitcher Chris Young. After six innings of perfect pitching on his part, I turned to Andy and asked
“At what point do we have to start rooting for this guy?”
“When Bill Hall comes up in the bottom of the eighth,” he joked.
As Young rung up Brewers batters one after the other, that possibility started to look like an inevitability. There were two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Bill Hall was in the on-deck circle, and Chris Young was four outs away from a Perfect Game. I was about to admit that I would like to see the opposing pitcher do something that has only happened 17 times in the last 132 years.
But then Gabe Kapler ripped a home run right past our faces, snapping our heads around to the second level of outfield seats, where bleacher bums were already celebrating. Young’s perfect game, his no-hitter, and his shutout where all dashed with one swing, a simple twist of fate.
Thank god we didn’t have to sit through all that.
* Our softball team was rather bad, posting like, a 2-13 record on the season. But because each team gets at least one playoff game in this league, we were able to make some noise in the postseason. The night of our playoff games — advancing that very night in the tournament — was also my grandpa’s birthday, however.
I could make it back to the city for dinner with the fam, if we didn’t win a game… or two… In the first game, we played Papa John’s, and I played my ass off, going 5-for-5 and putting out, like, 10 players. The second team didn’t show up, so we advanced to a third game at 8 p.m. — dashing my hopes of making it back for G-Pa’s dinner. In that game, we played like crap, and the mercy rule was enacted when we were losing 12-1 after 5 innings — but not before our left-center fielder severely sprained his ankle and the game was delayed for 30 minutes while we waited for an ambulance.
Me and gramps are headed to the game tonight. I’ll let you know what happens.