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Walk-Off Balk: Front-Runner for Low Point 2011

All-Star. Balker?
All-Star. Balker?

Happy Independence Day, Kansas City! To commemorate this day, the 235th Anniversary of Our Greatest of Declarations, Royals fans were treated to a mostly dull first seven innings that one could certainly choose to write about were one so inclined. Granted, such an exercise would read like a novelization of an episode of House Hunters featuring Sandra Rinomato as the realtor, but one could still go down that tedious path. 

And it would be largely meaningless. 

In the bottom of the eighth with the Royals nursing a 3 - 2 lead, freshly minted All-Star Aaron Crow came in to work pick up where the efficacious Greg Holland left off. Facing the laughable bat of Brett Morel, who was batting second and sporting a triple-slash of .253/.270/.308 heading into tonight's contest, Aaron Crow induced a chopper up the middle that brought both Alcides Escobar and Chris Getz charging in on what could easily have been an collision of the grotesque variety. The ball found a way between them with Getz looking visibly irritated afterwards, despite the fact that Chrissy Hustle would have had a much less likely chance to throw out Morel throwing back across his body than Escobar would have. Morel found himself on first after this gaffe with a "hit." 

If you thought Brett Morel's triple-slash in the two-spot in the line up was bad, then you clearly hadn't been paying attention to what Adam Dunn, batting third tonight, has been doing. Heading into this game, Dunn was slashing an astonishing .185/.301/.305 line. After a single not dissimilar from Morel's single off of Jeff Francis (or more precisely off of Francoeur's glove in right) earlier in the game which was Dunn's second hit off a lefty all season, he promptly sent an Aaron Crow pitch into the bullpen in right, putting the Sox up a run. Crow eventually made it out of the inning without incurring any more damage.

Eric Hosmer - having clearly reconnected with His Father, Our Lord In Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name, sometime Sunday morning - transubstantiated a Sergio Santos pitch into what was eventually deemed a home run after review (and surely some commandment from God) proved that it had indeed cleared the fence and caromed back into the field of play. It also definitively proved the existence of God, in full and glorious high-definition. 

There were no more runs for the Royals in the top of the ninth, and despite the fact that he didn't make it out of the prior inning without ceding the lead, Aaron Crow found himself back on the mound to start the ninth. The man who can only be aptly described as being a doucher, A.J. Pierzynski led the inning off with a single. Gordon Beckham bunted Doucher to second. With Eric from Entourage Mark Teahen at the plate, Aaron Crow proceeded to struggle to throw strikes, eventually allowing Pierzynski to advance to third on a wild pitch before striking out Teahen. Still struggling to throw strikes, perhaps because his pitch count was nearing 40, the 2011 Royals' All-Star walked the power-allergic Juan Pierre sending Adam Dunn to the dish again. 

Would revenge be exacted? Would accounts be settled?


Aaron Crow was called for a balk, and the smug bastard Pierzynski trotted across the plate at the order of Home Plate Umpire Ed Rapuano.

If Royals fans were searching for a low-point for the 2011 season, it might just be where the team's likely lone representative in the Midsummer Classic balked in the game-winning run the day after he was named to the team. In Chicago. Against the White Sox. With A.J. Pierzynski plating the run. Negating another miracle worked by Eric Hosmer. Shortly after the existence of God was proven incontrovertibly. 

The call itself was nitpicking of the highest order, but there is a larger issue at hand. One that doesn't involve external forces electing to play God while in the presence of the His Son. 

As the Royals tried to come to grips with the clearly arguable call, Ned Yost, scapegoat du jour, sauntered out onto the field mere moments after forgetting he had other pitchers in his bullpen and half-heartedly argued what should likely have been a rage-filled, purple-faced, George Brett racing out of the dugout moment from the manager cementing the notion that there is little that Yost can do ably.

Hubris of umpires aside, the Royals should not have been in this situation.