Take your Scott Hattebergs and shove ’em. This wasn’t about Moneyball or any Michael Lewis-isms. This wasn’t about a big payroll and a small payroll, or two of the more economically depressed cities in the United States fighting for some measure of respect in a sport that too often gives and gets none.
This was about Coco Crisp. This was about the Oakland Athletics. This was about a team in trouble, about to go down in flames on its home turf. This was about the ninth inning and – as has become custom – the Oakland A’s took a page out of Dylan Thomas’s playbook and did not go gently into that good night.
They raged, raged against the dying of the light.
The Athletics entered the ninth inning – the bottom of it, to be clear – down 3-1 and looking like they were worried about hitting traffic on the way home. It was a nothing game and a nothing outing. It appeared that Oakland had spent itself on the regular season – and on catching Texas – and had little or nothing left in the tank.
Alll of a sudden, Josh Reddick got on. Then, Josh Donaldson doubled. Then, Seth Smith knocked them in. Both of them. Of course, two quick outs followed – to George Kottaras and Cliff Pennington. It seemed like the 10th inning was destiny.
And, why not? It’s Oakland. It has to be left to a coin toss. It cant be a sure thing. It can’t be predictable.
Of course, Smith was still on second, and Coco Crisp was coming up to bat, even after TBS had queued on his face all night. He’s the guy on this team. He made himself that guy, with both a brutal error in Game 2 and a season-saving catch at the wall in Game 3.
The TBS guys were just about done saying this line, “Coco Crisp… hitting .367 this year with runners in scoring position.”
Then… wait for it…
A line drive grounded between first and second pushed Smith to third, and a big ol’ bobble by Detroit Tigers outfielder Avisail Garcia guaranteed he’d be coming home.
Oakland exploded. The Athletics bench flooded. Garcia was helpless… forced to scoop the ball up and toss it haphazardly back into the infield.
We will have a Game 5. Oakland still has a season. The Tigers do, too.
Hell, this is what baseball is all about.