No doubt many of you have heard about this already, but for those of you who haven't, the Rainiers won last night to advance to the PCL championship against Memphis. How did they win? In large part because of Tommy Everidge. With the score 1-1 in the seventh inning:
With one out and Mike Wilson on first base, Jose Yepez hit a grounder that Sacramento shortstop Eric Sogard dived for and snagged, flipping to second baseman Corey Wimberly, who then threw to Everidge at first.
But the umpire had called Wilson safe at second, something Everidge failed to notice.
Thinking it was an inning-ending double play, Everidge flipped the ball into the crowd. By rule, a ball that goes out of play allows a runner to move up two bases.
In this case, Wilson trotted home with what turned out to be the game-winning run.
That brief mental lapse made it a 2-1 ballgame, and though Matt Mangini added some critical insurance the next inning with a two-run dinger, there's no denying the fact that it was a tie game when Everidge had the ball and a one-run game when he no longer did. The Win Expectancy impact of his toss was about -20%. Though the official scorer gave it to Lenny DiNardo, we can pretty much go ahead and tag Everidge with the loss, meaning the Rainiers won the series by beating Everidge, John Halama, and Travis Blackley. Mariner property can only win by playing former Mariner property.
Scoring a run on an error is weird. Scoring a run on this kind of error is weirder. Scoring a run on this kind of error to win a playoff series is about as weird as it gets. The strangest thing is that, given the attendance, Everidge probably flipped the baseball to an empty seat. I feel like, for situations like last night's, writers shouldn't use the word 'crowd' to refer to the people in attendance. Perhaps 'assembly,' or 'group.'
Anyway, the Rainiers are off to Tennessee, where they'll play all of the best-of-five series in the same stadium. There, they're facing a dual disadvantage. For one thing, even though they'll be the designated home team for the first two games, they'll still be in front of a partisan Memphis crowd that averaged nearly 10,000 a game during the regular season. And for another, I'm not finding any former M's or Rainiers on the Redbirds roster. There is a Brandon Dickson, who reminds me of Jason Dickson, who used to play against the, but it sure looks like Tacoma will have to change up its strategy if it wants to win it all.