In the top of the sixth inning of your standard 1-1 game between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves was set to begin, the fans at Truist Park collectively groaned.
It wasn’t because of a 14th Austin Riley error this season, nor was it their team squandering an opportunity for their 10th straight win, though that did happen later in the inning. It was because a fan — once again given the classic one-million-yard-looking headstart against The Freeze — had the once-in-a-lifetime chance at beating him in the famous warning-track race… and busted his ass right in front of the finish line.
You could see the fan tiring toward the end even with a clear lengthy lead. The crowd was noticeably raising a few decibels in anticipation of the possible upset victory as the fan closed in on the win. And then once he passed the Coca-Cola sponsorship, it was as if his legs hadn’t run this far since longgggggggg before the pandemic, and they simply wobbled him down — causing him to collapse like (spoiler alert) Félix Gallardo’s empire in Narcos: Mexico. And it’s not like The Freeze has never lost before, but he rarely does. This race is supposed to go like many of these.
It was, as The Athletic’s Twitter caption lists, “sooooo close ...” It’s fair to wonder whether it should’ve been, though. This was not the first time a fan should have won and ate dirt right before the tape. Hopefully The Freeze isn’t just washed, because he can’t be out here losing to dudes who look like audio engineers at a New York City podcast studio. Also, is the Freeze allowed to showboat afterward? Because it looked like he was going to lose minus that last second fall.
Anyway, yeah, as for the game, the Yankees won, 5-1. But the Braves still have 4.5 games of distance between the second place Philadelphia Phillies in the uninspiring NL East, so what does it matter?