April 9, 2011

Home Game 2: Ice Cream Is Cold

Friday, April 8
Pirates 4, Rockies 3, 14 innings
Buc Night, Free T-shirt, Free Poster
Record: 5-3

Despite the heartbreaking loss a day before, the score was 0-0 when a new game started the next night. Ross Ohlendorf spent the entire offseason getting ready to rebound from a year in which he pitched well, had a 4.07 ERA, yet only won one game and was cursed with injury. But baseball can be a heartless bitch. Ohlendorf hurt his arm in the third inning and headed to the trainer's room with what was obviously a major injury. Pittsburgh trailed 3-0.

With Jorge de la Rosa pitching though, that meant the Pirates had about ten hours to come back. Jorge de la Rosa would take an hour to make Hot Pockets. The Pirates scored one on three walks and a groundout in the fourth, another on Jose Tabata's solo homer over the center field fence in the fifth, another on Jason Jaramillo's single in the sixth, and it was 3-3. Jeff Karstens was shutting the Rockies down. It was really cold.

With the game tied, the wind blowing, and the temperature 43 degrees and dropping, my associate John and I decided to spur the team on to victory by getting a couple of ice cream cones. It was a really funny order which freaked out a lot of people, and it also was an order which made us really, really cold. We might have gone to the next stand for hot chocolate if we planned on seeing another three hours of baseball.

John Bowker led off the seventh with a pinch hit single. I announced to the group that Tabata was clearly bunting. Not only did he bunt, he showed bunt before the pitch. The Rockies countered by charging from first and third with the other two infielders running to cover first and second base.

When you have a guy who is a .300 hitter all the time, what do you think is his batting average if you take the bunt off and let him swing away with all four infielders out of position? Particularly a right handed batter with no one playing on the right side of the infield? We won't know. Clint Hurdle not only kept the bunt on, but called for a bunt and run on consecutive pitches. Rockies reliever Matt Lindstrom threw a pitch Jose Tabata couldn't bunt at, Bowker was a dead duck at second, and I couldn't be mad because I like our manager, predictable/stupid bunts and all.

In the top of the tenth, Pedro Alvarez made the best play I've ever seen live by a third baseman. The bases were loaded with two outs when Seth Smith lined a double down the third base line. Alvarez dove to his right to keep it in the infield, which already was a great play. I didn't even expect a throw, but Alvarez threw a rocket from his knees. The play on Smith wasn't even that close as he was gunned down at first. Third basemen don't throw out runners from their knees.

In the thirteenth inning, a bunch of guys above us tried to start the wave with 300 people left. They also made fun of a dad and his four-year-old girl for leaving after ten innings.

Of course, the Pirates won it in the fourteenth on a Jose Tabata double scoring Josh Rodriguez with two outs. It was the perfect storm of coldness. We drank zero beers, it was cold, we got ice cream, and the game lasted five and a half hours. No one mentioned the possibility of leaving. Great work by my associates John, Lucas, and Maggie. All of us would be back the next night.

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