I missed the first half of the game today because I was stuck in traffic coming over from the Bellevue area with Conor, who doesn’t have FSN (it’s terrible and sad, I know). We listened on the radio in the car, and while I love having the ability to hear the game on the air, nothing is better than actually being there, or basking in the glow of sweet, sweet high-definition. We got back to my house in time for the 5th inning, when the Mariners were down a few runs.
My attention was divided between making dinner and the game, but then, in the best top of the 7th ever, the Ms loaded the bases against Gavin Floyd, and with Franklin Gutierrez up to the plate, the White Sox brought in JJ Putz. The guy we traded facing the guy he was traded for. Gutz lined out, but the Mariners next batter was Jose Lopez. Lopi took two balls and a strike before taking JJ yard in what I can only describe as the most satisfying grand slam since Felix Hernandez hit Johan Santana back in our awful 2008 year. Conor and I actually high-fived each other on the couch, and I screamed involuntarily. It was that awesome. A grand slam -regardless of the context it falls under – is always a wonderful experience if it’s your team – and I’m going to remember this one for quite some time.
I got a lot of apologies/short Tweets from people who have been keen to point out to me that JJ was not necessarily unicorns and puppies in his last few years here in Seattle, and I can understand their points; all very valid, and I don’t fault anyone for their opinion of any player. JJ was a problem child via several different accounts from our local press. He was not a Nice Guy. I get that. But JJ Putz is the player – for better or worse – who got me into this game; and I am forever indebted to him for that. I know he was heavily rumored to be a jackass (and I say “rumored” because I wasn’t there), but if it was not for JJ there would be no me-as-baseball-fan, no Section331.com, no season tickets, nothing to do in my spare time. And I love having this as what I do in my spare time. I wear my Putz jersey with pride, and I always will.
With the score 6-5 Mariners, Chicago was not going down easy, and went for the tie against Sean White in the bottom of the 7th. Brandon League came in for the 8th, and Mark Lowe was in for the 9th. With the score at 6-6 with two out, Lowe had to face down Andruw Jones and took him to the full count before Jones took him yard for a walk-off homer over left field.
We lost, but that 7th inning was a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Dave Sims was talking over the FSN broadcast about the Chicago reporters that came to into the clubhouse today wanting to interview Milton Bradley, like the lovesick dogs they have become since his departure. Milton had nothing but nice things to say about Seattle, and Sims said that Ken Griffey Jr, in a show of solidarity, turned up the clubhouse stereo to add some distraction to the situation. I can only say that it makes me happy to see the guys supporting each other as much as I support them.
Jack Wilson took a hard catch that wrecked his hand a little – he was pulled from today’s game in favor of Matt Tuiasosopo. There is no fracture, but he’s going to be in a splint for the next 12 hours or so, and will be reevaluated tomorrow. Keeping all toes/fingers/limbs crossed that it was just a bad hit and nothing more detrimental.
I have tickets to go see Cliff Lee’s start in Tacoma this Sunday. I am thrilled beyond belief. I wasn’t going to go at first because of money, but I missed some starts last year down there that I am kicking myself for, and I don’t want any regrets this year – or at least I’d like to keep those to a minimum. So I’m very much looking forward to Sunday. Good times.
Tomorrow is another day, and Doug Fister and Freddy Garcia do battle in US Cellular Field. Having just been to a Fister start (and win) at home against an inferior Baltimore team, I am wanting to see what he can do against a team with a little more power in their lineup; let’s see what the AL Central has to offer The Fist. Have a good Friday night, everyone!