erik lundegaard


Saturday June 29, 2024

Cheering Correa at Mariners Park

“Walks it off”: A nubber to the pitcher and an errant throw.

I found myself rooting for the Twins.

I spent most of June in Minnesota visiting my 92-year-ol father in M. Hospital or R. Hospital, where he was trying to recover from a stroke, and during that time we watched a lot of Twins games so I got to know them a bit. Meanwhile, I kind of lost track of my M's. Were they still in first place in the AL West? Apparently so. Nine games over .500. Had Julio become Julio again? No, he hadn't. And we still weren't hitting? No, we weren't. Pre-game, we were 29th of 30 teams in batting average, 25th in OBP, 25th in SLG. Among our regulars, Julio led in batting with a .252 average. We had pitching and not much else.

Meanwhile, the Twins had this kid, Royce Lewis, who couldn't sneeze without hitting a homerun. A few weeks back I checked and his SLG was .900. .900! For slugging. Barry Bonds looks at that and goes WTF? Twins also had superstar shortstop Carlos Correa who was beautiful to watch. Everyone on the field is a top tier athlete but some guys are just top top-tier and he was one of those. He made everything look smooth. I remember watching an at-bat in Minnesota where the ball landed in front of homeplate and Correa reached down and flipped it to the catcher in one smooth motion. The day before yesterday, I got worried when in the late innings of a Twins shellacking of Arizona, Correa got pegged in the forearm, grimaced, shook his forearm, and immediately walked off the field. He was injury prone but was finally coming back from all that. He was having a helluva June. So was he down again? No. Not a fracture. His hand went numb but feeling returned in the Twins locker room and he said he'd be in the lineup the next day, which was last night. He was. 

I went with my wife Patricia. We got there slightly late—Correa was already on first with a one-out single—which meant we'd missed the first round of boos. I should've anticipated that. I was loving Correa now but he'd been on the 2017 Houston Astros, who cheated by stealing signs with high-tech gear and sent signals via trash-can lids, and Mariners fans, and pretty much all fans, continued to boo the stars of that team. Even a guy like Kyle Tucker, who wasn't on the '17 squad, who didn't make his MLB debut until July 2018 and didn't play a full season until 2021, even he gets booed like he's Simon Legree. So it goes. Me, I'm already passed it. Plus it's boring. So when the M's faithful booed Correa lustily in his next at-bat, I took the opposite tack: I cheered lustily. I cheered even louder when, in the top of the sixth, with the M's ahead 1-0, Correa hit a 2-run homer into the bullpen in left field. The only one who said anything was a Twins fan sitting behind me. He looked confused, pointing to my M's cap. Yeah, long story, pal.

Correa, by the way, was the only guy on either team with an average north of .300, but the Twins had five guys with averages better than Julio's, which, again, is the best on the M's. Just embarassing. Our leadoff hitter (J.P. Crawford) was near .200, our No. 3 hitter (Cal Raleigh) just scaped above .200, while our cleanup hitter (Mitch Garver) was significantly below .200. Again, we're 29th of 30. Thank god for the White Sox.

Mariners Park was packed for the first time in a long time. Because they'd just gotten back from a successful road trip? No, they'd gone 3-6 against the Guardians, Marlins and Rays. Because it was J.P. Crawford bobblehead night? Maybe. It was also Filipino Heritage Night, so that helped. It helped make it a rare midsummer sellout. Just when I didn't want to be near people.

After Correa's homer, the M's went down 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh, but in the bottom of the eighth they got the first two guys on via walk and single. Then bobblehead guy J.P. tried to bunt but popped it up to third. Then Julio hit a slow roller to third, which Twins third baseman Jose Miranda, cousin to Lin Manuel, rushed a throw to first, which first baseman Carlos Santana tried to dig out but couldn't. A run scored and the game was tied. It stayed that way until the bottom of the tenth when we scored our ghost runner on a groundout to short (moving him to third) and a nubber back to the pitcher, whose hurried throw home sailed past the catcher. So we won on two errant throws. So it goes.

The weather was nice anyway.

Posted at 09:15 AM on Saturday June 29, 2024 in category Seattle Mariners