Slate's Robert Weintraub, like many of us, loves the old purple prose of early 1900s sportswriting, the Grantland Rices, the men who painted epic tales of warriors, grizzled combatants and lardywarks too manly to wear gloves. In an occasional series, Weintraub writes about the week's best baseball game in the style of the vaunted sportswriters of yesteryear. This week: The Angels' win over the Blue Jays on Sunday.
Several top sporting alienists agree on the positive benefits of the Barrymore Win, those laced through with drama. Sure, they count no more than the 10-1 kneeslapper to the bookkeepers of the game, but when a squad emerges victorious whilst squeezed by pressure, the release can have a knock-on effect. These Magellans of the psychosis must be giddy about the exploits of your Spartans in Scarlet, who cannot seem to agree upon a proper geographical surname, but inarguably represent the outlying areas of the City of Angels.
The I-5ers tucked another skip-away into their burgeoning pelts by defeating a game, and possibly gamey, group of Canucks from Toronto, 4-3. Appropriately on this Sabbath Day, the Lord’s Reps here on Earth were not left disappointed.
This particular left-columner was the fourth in a row for SoCal that included the scorebook addendum “X outs when winning run scored.” The consistent cliffhangers would be too much for the local imagineers who ply their trades in celluloid, and should, one hopes, be enough to get the Haloed Nine some much-needed buzz in the Southland, perhaps even breaking through the noise created by the pituitaryily-enhanced cagers currently wrapping up another season of lobbing balls into peach baskets across town.
Our beloved base ball is a cruel affair of zero-sum equations; for every smile in the home dressing room, there was an equivalent scowl in the visitors’. None was so anguished as that of Bluebird anchorman B.J. “Inverted L” Ryan, who took a fine performance worthy of a V by opening twirler A.J. “T.J.” Burnett and effectively flushed it down the commode. John Crapper himself would be astounded at such a thorough use of his invention.
Leading 3-2 entering the ultimate innings, B. followed A. with alphabetical precision. Yet the result was hardly as satisfying. The Brown Russian and Two-I Hunter immediately welcomed the new spinner with lashed safeties. “I wouldn't say we were happy that he came in, but Burnett was pretty much dealing and we wanted to see something different," offered Torii afterward, affirming the human need for variety (and, in tandem, the Spice Trade with Batavia).
Then, seemingly, the Decisive Moment—a puny bounder off the ash of Casey “Bird Dog’s Boy” Kotchman to his mirror at the Primary Sack, Lyle Overpaid, resulted in a tagout of Vladimir Ilyitch between bases three and four. The Stalin of Sock alertly prolonged the agony, allowing his fellow Winged Ones to advance along the Gilded Path. Mike “Backstabber” Napoli was Purposefully Passed to fully laden the bags. Alternate Ashman “Don” Juan Rivera went shopping at K-Mart, transporting our Canadian Cousins to within a single out of Eden.
But B.J. put a prophylactic on his club’s hopes for ecstasy (not to mention winning the three-game set). With Howie “Gigli” Kendrick at bat, the Confused Concluder missed his target by a wide margin, unless his aiming point was Howie’s triceps. The latterly plunking gave a trio of tallies for each side, and kept the bags brimming with Angelenos. El Cabron Pequeno, Maicer Izturis, strolled to the pentagon with a chance to be the Afternoon’s Achilles, and he didn’t disappoint, yanking the first doomed delivery by Ryan to the Far Grass. Kotchman’s toetag of the Glory Dish set off an all-too familiar celebration by the Quartz City Crew, while the Irritated Irishman trudged the walk of shame off the bump.
Kudos to Angels In America Darren “Scythe” Oliver and Jose “Beginner’s Luck” Arredondo, who caulked over a mediocre outing from Jon “Trade Bait” Garland. Arredondo in particular deserves plaudits, not merely for earning the V by holding the enemy to a duo of bingles in 2.1 innings, but for bouncing back so hardily in the face of adversity, having offered up a meatball that was sent over the planking on his very first offering in the Bigs. It’s that sort of fortitude in the face of Horsehide Haplessness that has delivered this plucky band of Seraphs to their current prominent placement in the divisional listings.
Meanwhile, there was no immediate word from the Loonies locker room on the mental capacity of Burnett, who once upon a time famously delivered a verbal whipping to his Sunshine State Spearfish mates after a tough defeat, after which, he was asked to vacate the premises with the alacrity of Mercury. After Ryan’s Harding-like performance in the Beer Frame, the Combustible Tosser, whose inner workings may well be stained by all the ink that has leached into his pores, has grounds for verbal battery. Given the rife potential that Burnett may be dangled at the midseason Swap Meet, repercussions wouldn’t likely be lasting.