I closed my laptop around this time last night. It was, to put it mildly, another disappointment in what continued to evolve as a season where the rest of the division was playing a very cynical game of musical chair at the top of the standings. We merely eeked above the lowly Royals; a team which, in any a Meche-less night would dwell in their quotidian futility. We were there, perhaps a decimal of a column inch above (or however many milimeters separate teams in the standings matrix every morning), and we were showing we deserved to be there.
Garland had been effective the night before; if anything, our defense showed that we would be able to abandon the starter at a point where the only double-play ball we had to turn, translated into a costly error – worth a two-run home run.
So as any exasperated fan would do; I threw my hands in the air and began contemplating reveling in the futility of the team I had cheered on for more than 15 years.
I came home tonight thinking it was Dank’s turn to pitch; the one stand-out story of this Rangers-White Sox series was the match-up of two trade components, the two pitchers that got swaped in the off-season where getting ready to toe the rubber and show which one was the tougher hombre.
The others? Mere afterthoughts. Mark Buehrle? He was knocked out of a game last week when a line drive left a bruise the size of a golf ball in his pitching forearm.
So when I decided to log on to my luxurious mlb.tv and “check on the score,” I nary had glanced at the 6 – 0 run column when I exhaled in relief – “goddam; we’re finally winning one.”
I noticed it was the eighth, and was amicably surprised that the opposing team had goose eggs for innings; I turned my attention away, munching down on a domestic salad tossed in balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I don’t like balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Wait? Zeros? The eighth?
Indeed. Buerhle a no-hitter through eighth.
“Is he perfect?” my brother asked.
I don’t know.
“Check the box score,” he suggested.
As much as I could’ve, my laptop was a bit slow tonight; I couldn’t take away any resources lest the stupid mlb.tv … buffering…buffering…buffering…
This was too important a window to minimize.
As usual, Hawk was blowing smoke in Buerhle’s direction by hollerin’ – “tell everybody, your friends, your family to come see this;” very similar to what he had done last year when Freddy “The Chief” García had a perfect gem through eighth.
Good thing Sosa had walked (and gotten picked off); otherwise Hawk’s jinx would’ve been dead on.
No; this time it was too cold – ice cold – for Mark to let it slip through his fingers. Sammy’s breath in the top of the eighth was billowing from his mouth. It was too cold. Perfect night for numbing the hitters into their dugout. Not perfect for immortality, no; adequate for greatness.
Matt Kata Strike (foul), Strike (foul), Strike (looking), M Kata struck out looking
Nelson Cruz Strike (swinging), Strike (swinging), Ball, Ball, Strike (swinging), N Cruz struck out swinging
Gerald Laird Ball, Strike (foul), G Laird grounded out to third
We forget our sub .500 record; we forget we’re no longer World Series Champs; we forget we don’t lead the division. It’s all good Mark. Greatness becomes thee.