I'm going to my first-ever home Seahawks game tomorrow, so I won't be around for either of the next two M's games, but, here, have some notes from last nights/ showdown. Nothing extensive, since it's Saturday and I imagine half of you are already drunk, but that game was exhilarating, and I have to talk about it somewhere.
1) Matt Stairs made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Scott Rolen of a double, and nearly a home run. I'm serious. Look at that picture. Or watch here. Leaping catches usually aren't that big of a deal, but they're a big deal when they're made by Matt Stairs, whose joints sound like someone walking on gravel. The first that makes this funny is, hey, Matt Stairs. The second thing that makes this funny is that he caught the ball on his way back down, having mis-timed his leap. I don't think Matt Stairs does this very much.
2) Aroldis Chapman came out of the bullpen, threw everything at least 100 miles per hour, and - if you haven't heard by now - he topped out at a PITCHfx-read 105.1mph that Keith Law recorded at 104 with his radar gun from slightly off-center. The scoreboard said 105, and Petco officials swear there's nothing funny going on with their gun. Which means that, last night, Aroldis Chapman threw the fastest pitch ever recorded in baseball history.
Chapman's velocity, obviously, is impressive, and arguably unprecedented. But what adds to the effect is the crowd response. There's an audible ooh when he throws a pitch, then a delay, then a second ooooh when the velocity reading flashes on the scoreboard. Here's some video for you to check out. Aroldis Chapman is a treat. Not just for the Reds. For everyone. He's a freak, and baseball fans love their freaks.
3) Ryan Ludwick very nearly took Chapman out of the park to straightaway center, and Chase Headley pulled him on the ground. The Ludwick pitch, it's worth noting, was "only" 100 miles per hour, but it is worth remembering that Chapman will eventually give up a few extra-base hits. He just won't give up many of them. HE IS SO AWESOME
4) The Padres were down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, with two on and two out. Nick Masset then walked David Eckstein and went full on Miguel Tejada with the bases loaded. Watch what happened here.
It's perfect. It's the perfect highlight. That's a highlight I'd put up with pretty much any play, in any regular season game, in any sport. The hit, the significance, the crowd response, the enthusiasm - that's as exciting as September baseball gets, and you can feel it just watching the video.
Worth remembering is that the fans at Petco have long been characterized much like the fans at Safeco. Petco can sound like this. Which means Safeco can sound like this. Eventually, when theare good again, these moments will happen, and we'll remember them for years. Excitement and life will return when they're supposed to return.
I hope that, the next time the Mariners get a hit like this, the hitter responds the way Tejada responded. You so rarely see that kind of intensity in a baseball game. It's electrifying, and a surefire way to become a fan-favorite.