The Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds are the Cubs’ Class A short-season affiliate, and this year they’ve earned the nickname the Bad News Ems by having the Northwest League’s worst overall record. But in the Northwest League, you can qualify for the postseason based on your second-half record, and the Emeralds just snuck into the last spot. So naturally, the Emeralds went undefeated in the playoffs, winning five games in a row—four of them by 3-2 scores in games they trailed—and last night won the league title in the only appropriate way.
The Ems scored two runs in the ninth, the second when Spokane Indians all-star closer Emmanuel Clase stumbled while delivering a pitch for the ultra-rare walk-off balk. Everyone in the stadium knew it—I love the fans behind the plate going nuts—and Yonathan Perlaza trotted home with the winning run.
“I saw him drop the ball and thought ‘What just happened?’,” said Eugene’s Jake Slaughter, who was on second base at the time. “I know its crazy, but we got it done.”
Congrats to the Bad News Ems for triumphing by doing the bare minimum this year. You’re an inspiration to us all.