Thursday, July 23, 2009
Ten-run deficit? Sure, why not?
The following is written by David Kamoe, a life-long sports fan whose sister is a close friend. David is an avid A's fan, wen to to high school with Drew Gooden and can't believe that Giants commentator Mike Krukow used to refer to the right-centerfield expanse at Pac Bell Park as "Finley Alley," referring to Steve Finley who remarkably wore a Giants uniform for a season. David will likely be stopping by these parts a few times a month, so treat him right. And no sister jokes.
Often I have sat at the Oakland Coliseum during a lopsided affair. As people around me have stood up and started to walk out, I think the same thing, “You’re going to be sorry when the A’s come back.” Most of the time, sadly, the A’s do not come back. The A’s-Twins game Monday was shaping up to be one of those games. It did not, however, and ended up being one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen. This then is a recap not fully in the style of but certainly inspired by the “retro diaries” often employed by “The Sports Guy” Bill Simmons.
As I settled in with my Gordo’s burrito, I watched Gio Gonzalez getting worked early. Justin Ernest Morneau tagged him for a lightning quick grand slam followed by a Michael Cuddyer solo shot. The A’s were down 5-2 by this point and things were not looking up. When Morneau clocked his second homer, a three-run jack, a white flag may have been in order. Yet there I was, feeling hopeful.
I was on thin ice when the A’s were down 12-2. That a Holliday two-run shot and a Barton two-runner made it 12-7 was encouraging until the Twins scored their 13th run. At that point, the seventh inning, I stood up at took a bathroom break. I returned to my seat just as Morneau overran an Ellis pop up in foul territory. Ellis ended up walking and Cabrera followed with a two-run dunk single to right. When Scott Hairston walked, I got my hopes up way high. With the score now 12-9, I dreamed big and wanted Holliday to hit one out. I even employed an ESPN device of reciting the line from Madonna’s “Holliday” of “Holiday, celebrate.” Dreaming entirely too big, I know.
“Tell it goodbye” were the words out of my mouth as Holliday crushed an off-speed pitch over the right-centerfield wall. If I had planned it, I would have said “Holy Toledo” but Lon Simmons came to mind before Bill King. I had no time to react when Cust hit a soaring-uppercut-induced solo shot following Holliday.
And then was the 9th. When Michael Wuertz struck out Morneau for the second out, I was convinced there would be a clean ninth. Cuddyer stopped that by singling to right and intentionally walked the next hitter. With Delmon Young up, Wuertz spiked a slider into the dirt and off of catcher Kurt Suzuki’s shin guard. The ball ricocheted to the backstop and Cuddyer was on the move. Suzuki scrambled, picked up the ball and threw to Wuertz covering and tagged Cuddyer for the third out. The reality of course is that Cuddyer was safe but the game ended. This is when I came back to Bill King and the “Holy Roller.” If you can find the extended version of that call, you’ll here King say, “Madden wants to know if it’s real. They say yes, get your big butt outta here. He does.”
And so did the A’s.