There are thousands of reason I love baseball.
For example, a team can be down the second half of the evening. Taking their hacks, making contact, yet coming up short in stringing anything together. A home run and an error lead to a couple of runs for the opposition and it feels like just another September night. It's a decent contest. Our starting pitcher is matching a former Cy Young award winner for the most part. His fielders betray him and that pesky home run comes up, but he's doing his part. It's just another relatively meaningless game as our team plays out its string of 162.
But then, the previous eight frames are forgotten. History. The errors, the home run... They don't matter. What matters are the final three outs. And what it takes to achieve them to salt away the game.
Zack Greinke strikes out Alcides Escobar to open the ninth. It was just Greinke's third strikeout. Then, he faces his nemesis, Alex Gordon. Gordon, don't forget, crushed a leadoff home run against him the last time he visited the K back in June. It wasn't as dramatic as a home run, but it was just as damaging: A single to knock Greinke to the showers. He's done after 109 pitches.
Enter Ernesto Frieri. The Angels closer is called upon to record the final two outs.
He throws four pitches. Two leave the yard.
I love baseball.
Billy Butler gets one over the heart of the plate, thigh-high, and crushes one to straight away center. Tie game.
Salvador Perez turns on a fastball on the inner half of the plate and lifts one down the left field line. It's not exactly a Carlton Fisk, push the ball fair in '75 kind of moment, but still... The trajectory of the ball is true. Off the foul pole and into our hearts. Beautiful.
What I also love about baseball is how we can capture moments like tonight:
I don't know if tonight was the game of the year, but I don't really care. It was epic. It was awesome. It was a fine way to win a game while playing out another meaningless September string.
It doesn't wash away the stink of the season, but damn... For one night everything is good.