Thursday January 27, 2022
Dreaming of Extra Innings
I was with Patricia and one of her friends and there was a ballgame on television, Yankees vs. Marlins, and I was trying to see the situation and the score but it was all a bit blurry. Wait, what inning was it? Was that right? The 19th? When was the last time I'd seen a game go to 19 innings? The year before MLB had adopted that stupid ghost-runner-in-extra-innings rule, as if professional baseball players were little leaguers who had to make it home in time for supper. But here was a bona-fide extra-inning game. 19 innings!
Later, I was telling Patricia and her friend what happened. They weren't interested but I kept talking and they indulged me. I told them it was the bottom of the 19th, Yankees were up, bases loaded and two outs. I kept thinking of the ways they could win without even a hit. A passed ball. A misthrow back to the pitcher. And just as I was thinking it, it happened. The first pitch was a ball, or called a ball, though it seemed to catch the upper right corner of the plate. (We hadn't really seen the pitch on TV; we'd only seen its electronic recreation from behind the plate.) The catcher threw back to the pitcher, who wasn't paying attention—maybe he was mad about the call?—and the ball bounced off the back of his glove and ricocheted into left field. The guy on third trotted in with the winning run as the crowd went wild and the Marlins right fielder jogged disgustedly after the ball. I noticed he was tall and wore number 99, most likely in homage to the Yankees' gargantuan right fielder, Aaron Judge.