Good baseball is exhausting. My usual bedtime (give or take minutes) is around 8-9, as I have to be up around 5AM, and I am generally useless with anything under five hours of sleep. Monday when Taijuan Walker pitched, I kept commenting to Tom that “I should go to bed”, but strikeouts kept happening, and baserunning kept happening, and then Steve Cishek happened (or almost didn’t happen, depending on how you see Cishek’s nailbiting performance, putting the tying runner on base in the top of the 9th), and before the game ended with a Mariners victory, I’d apparently thought I should go to bed about five times. Then yesterday I did the same thing while Nate Karns completely dominated through 7 innings, and the Mariners batting lineup took Houston ace Dallas Keuchel down.
What was most fun about last night’s game – for Mariners fans anyway – was getting to see relief catcher Erik Kratz take the mound for the 8th inning. Kratz got pelted, to be sure (allowing the Mariners three hits and two runs), and while his buddies in the dugout looked like they might be having some fun at his expense, I just sat there feeling sorry for him. It’s fun to see things like this because position players pitching is so rare (and the last catcher I remember seeing take care of stuff for us was Jamie Burke in like 2008? 2009?), and you never know how a player is going to surprise by playing in a capacity other than what they train for. The Astros backstop didn’t take it too terribly seriously, (cited at the link above) saying that he was glad his elbow held up, and that it could have been worse. I got berated a little by baseball friends on Twitter for expressing some pity at the Astros’ plight, but while some fans might like complete beatings of the opposition, and I myself enjoy the occasional destruction of another team, I have a caveat on that: I have a hard time with it when the opposing team has been doing poorly to begin with. I can’t revel in someone else’s failure, especially when it’s like a really bad drubbing like last night’s 11-1 game. The Mariners have been in the same position the Astros were last night, and it sucked to have to watch that for the past few years. I suppose my empathy levels aren’t quite right for a sports fan, but it is what it is. Am I glad we beat them? Absolutely; at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how you win, just that you win. But watching Kratz struggle up there was just a bummer, and beating the Astros at this point sort of isn’t all that fun for me. It’s like beating up a little kid. We were that team, and we’ll be that team again. That said, I am sure Kratz knew what he was in for, and I’ll get over it. I’ll be considerably more happy if we can really hammer on the 2nd place Kansas City Royals this weekend instead.
One thing I have been noticing is that good baseball makes me want to write more; not that I’ve had a ton of time, but it’s much more fun to write about things like Robinson Cano’s grand slam (and 1000th career RBI) that broke open the game last night in the 7th inning, or Taijuan Walker’s flawless performance on Monday night. It’s really hard as someone who is a non-professional, to sit on my couch night after night and try to come up with another way to describe the levels of disappointment that the Mariners have left me with, without using some large caliber swear words (swearing I reserve for Twitter). So this is a vast improvement.
I go to my first formal regular-season game (not counting the home opener) this Friday with my Royals fan buddy Dee. I believe I will also be going again on Sunday with Daniel, but I am at the mercy of ticket plans and schedules this year, so I’m not sure about Sunday. Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to regular sized crowds and a bit of cheering and getting back to normal – or what counts in my world as normal – summer activities. Until then, Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill again tonight to see if we can sweep the Astros and get his 1st win of the season. And I’ll be sitting on my couch, telling Tom I need to go to sleep, but not actually doing that.