I can’t muster the energy necessary for any sort of play-by-play, or even any sort of half-ass girly assessment of the game. But I am titling my post in such a way to honor Mike Napoli, who, even though I am not rooting for Texas, possesses a set of massive brass eggs that Adrian Beltre might actually want to borrow. Look, I know I’m not male, and therefore could not possibly understand the pain and suffering that comes from any injury in the bathing suit area. But I didn’t see Beltre’s injury. I did, however, see this on national TV. Word to the wise, do not click that link if you are squeamish about limbs doing things they’re not supposed to. Limbs aren’t even supposed to do that on the most broken of children’s toys. That occurred during the top of the 4th inning, as Naps was trying to reach second base. It happened so quickly that at first I wasn’t sure what happened. The replay, however, forced a noise out of my mouth that was so loud it echoed down our hallway. Team staff came out to check on Napoli as he was writhing on the ground, and I figured for sure he would be taken off the field, but after only a few moments, he was up again. He was covered in field dirt, but he was standing upright under his own power, and looked like he was ready to go. So they let him stay on base and finish out the rest of the inning.
Now obviously, he gets to come out after that, right? I mean, surely a catcher would not be up to the task of catching after tweaking his ankle so badly. But no. Napoli donned his catcher’s gear, and was out behind the plate, crouching away, in the bottom of the 4th inning. And in the 5th inning, the Cardinals walked him. I remain stunned.
I am not on the Rangers side, but holy cats! That walk thing didn’t seem to make much of a difference, since Ron Washington let Colby Lewis bat with the bases loaded, but I figured at that point that I know when I’m licked. The Rangers play this evening deserved to win this game. When they cracked the surface a little in the top of the 7th by hitting two solo home runs, I figured they had it nailed down. They continued with driving in another run, to open a gap of three. Allen Craig tried to close it in the bottom of the 8th with a solo homer of his own, but it just wasn’t going to happen.
The Rangers are the better team, and they played like it, and no matter what anyone says about the way tonight’s game was played, it was possibly the strangest game I’ve ever seen
I am writing this as I go, like a lot of stuff I write here. I just watched David Freese hit a 2-RBI triple that tied the game in the bottom of the 9th. The ball flew over Nelson Cruz’s glove when it really really shouldn’t have. I mean, if you were watching this game tonight, you’re probably still wondering how Cruz missed catching that outfield fly. But he did. And two runs came in because of it. And my Twitter feed nearly imploded on itself. It imploded again when Josh Hamilton did what Josh Hamilton does, hitting a two-run homer over center-ish field to drive in himself and Elvis Andrus in to up the score to 9-7 in Texas’ favor.
And it kept going. Twitter exploding, me squeaking, yelling, and making other noises out loud while sitting on the couch, Tom commenting on how he couldn’t believe it was still happening (I had promised him that despite who I was pulling for, the Rangers would win, and baseball would all be over tonight), and suspense, suspense, suspense.
And then it happened. David Freese (again!) hit a dinger to center field to drive himself in for the final run, and the whole of Busch Field or Park or whatever it is erupted into noise and madness. Freese’s jersey was nearly ripped off of him by his teammates, and the 2011 World Series was forced into Game 7, which is going to be absolute insanity. What’s hilarious is that I have to try and clean my house for a party on Saturday while being riveted to the TV tomorrow night. I don’t care about either of these teams, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t flip right out tonight as if I did.
It’s funny to me now that this post started out about Mike Napoli. While his part in it was seriously incredible, it turned out not to be as major a part of the game as I initially thought it would while the 4th and 5th innings were happening. I wish I had other words to do this game justice, but I don’t. I wish I had the analyst know-how to break stuff down in a way that made any modicum of sense, but I don’t. I only have amazement at what I’ve just seen, and I have been humbled. Baseball, you are truly a great game, and I will surely miss you when you are gone this year.