Wow, another awesome baseball game was played today, another Hollywood script made reality. Bottom of the ninth of an elimination game, Team USA down 5-3 after Puerto Rico scored what everyone assumed would be the winning run in the top of the ninth. The Flying Hawaiian promptly singled to open the inning off his teammate J.C. Roidmero. Brian "Wish he were a Red" Roberts followed with a single and Mr. November flied to right, allowing The Flying Hawaiian a meaningless tag and move to third.
By then, the baseball world sat at the edge of its couch, hands clenched, hearts racing, and some of us were left to wonder why a beautiful spring day could feel like October. Roberts stole second by miraculously getting his hand under the tag of Felipe Lopez and only replays showed it was the right call. Up came 2007 MVP Jimmy Rollins, and by then we could feel our blood pulsating through our veins. A nine pitch at bat, a walk, bases loaded, hope hanging heavy in the chants of USA! USA! USA!
Cincinnati native Kevin Youkalis made his way to the plate as the stadium sounded like Fenway Park and erupted when he drew a walk and an RWI (Run Walked In, of course!) 5-4, still one out. Muscles tense, hands wringing, the only thing in the world that existed at that moment was a baseball game. David Wright came up and worked a 2-1 count. Puerto Rican reliever Cabrera throws a pitch down and away, Ball 3, except Wright goes down and gets it and sends it down the rightfield line. A game of inches, indeed, and two runs score. USA wins! Woo! Puerto Rico is eliminated and we're advancing to the next round, the semi-finals.
This game was as good as a World Series game. It's too bad some people are too stubborn to enjoy it, because they are missing a heck of a lot of a beautiful thing. To see the faces of those USA players, to see guys like Wright and Rollins pump their fists into the air, to see Adam Dunn who's never tasted winning, to see them all pile up like that, their faces like boys, the joy, oh, what it brings to the heart!
Oh! I love this game!