Game 4 of the World Series had barely ended on Saturday night when the hyperbole hit, courtesy of Red Sox writer Ian Browne.
“One of the most thrilling games I’ve ever watched,” Browne wrote.
True enough! The Rays tied the series with an 8-7 win over the Dodgers that featured lead changes in the sixth and seventh innings, Tampa Bay tying the score in the bottom of the seventh, Los Angeles going back ahead in the eighth, and finally, whatever the hell play it was that ended it, but more on that in a moment.
“The World Series at its very best,” Browne continued.
Maybe the best this World Series has to offer, after three pretty dull games, but we don’t really need to do this, do we? This was a game with nine walks, 20 strikeouts, a hilariously stupid bunt, the foolishness of the four-outfielder alignment, some of the worst situational hitting you’ll ever see, and enough meatballs mixed in to result in the 15-run outburst that included six homers, customary dingers by Corey Seager and Randy Arozarena (his record ninth this postseason) included.
It also took four hours and 10 minutes, which, fine, it’s not like people had somewhere else to be on a Saturday night during a pandemic, but for one thing, that’s way more time listening to John Smoltz than anyone needs, and more importantly, the game dragged a lot thanks to all the baserunners and the 11 pitching changes.
If somebody said, “I’m looking to get into baseball, show me the World Series at its very best,” would you really show them this game? At a certain point, about when the Rays tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, it became clear that this wasn’t a game that someone was going to win so much as someone else was going to lose. Who was going to fuck up last?
Technically, it couldn’t have been Arozarena when he did his best Daniel Jones impression between third and home in the ninth, because if he’d been out, the game would have gone to extra innings. So, somebody else did have to fuck up. It just happened to be on the same play, as Dodgers catcher Will Smith failed to live up to his job description, letting the relay throw home go off his glove and allowing a dumbfounded Arozarena, who had gotten up and started back toward third, to score the winning run.
None of this is to say that it wasn’t fun. It was tremendously fun, as someone who’s already a baseball fan and doesn’t have a rooting interest. Even the length of the game was great, because it meant not watching Saturday Night Live. But to the last part of Browne’s tweet, as he asked, “Was there anything this game didn’t have?” Well, the answer is yes: a level of baseballing competence above what you might expect to see in the fourth week of February instead of the fourth week of October. Also, for the sake of it, since we’re talking about the idea of “the World Series at its very best,” the ebb and flow of emotion that comes with a packed stadium in a home city.
Saturday night was thrilling, sure. The game was full of twists and turns and interesting plays and debatable decisions, hopefully a sign of things to come for the remainder of the series, because seriously, those first three games were duller than the Rays’ boring mid-2010s knockoff Padres uniforms. But these are all things that too often get conflated with quality, not to mention that if you’re going to talk about the best that the World Series has to offer, shouldn’t it end with someone getting the trophy?
This wasn’t even the best 8-7 game in the World Series in the past five years. Maybe eventually something will come along to top Game 7 in 2016, but Saturday was not the night it happened, not by a longshot.
We’ve all grown accustomed to blatant, transparent, impossible-to-take-seriously lies. Donald Trump — Donald Trump! — has campaign merchandise that says “NO MORE BULLSHIT.” So, it’s good to know that sometimes you can still come across a whopper that leaves you completely gobsmacked.
So, thank you, Ohio State coach Ryan Day, for this incredible explanation of the fifth-ranked Buckeyes’ final touchdown in their 52-17 win over Nebraska, a 2-yard run by freshman quarterback Jack Miller in the final minute:
“I feel bad about that. I had a younger quarterback in the game, and I didn’t feel like we had the personnel to take the knee, and I probably should have done that. So I just want to publicly apologize to them, to [Nebraska coach Scott Frost].”
Didn’t have the personnel to take the knee?
Didn’t have the personnel.
To take the knee.
Didn’t… have the personnel… to take… the knee.
Here is the personnel that you need on the field to take the knee: a center capable of snapping the ball, and a quarterback who can drop to one knee.
Obviously, Ohio State snapped the ball to Miller, because he ran in for a touchdown. So, that’s half the necessary personnel.
So, the question is whether Miller is physically capable of dropping to one knee.
There is video evidence that he is. One year ago today, Miller took a knee twice at the end of Chaparral High School’s 28-21 victory over Pinnacle.
Never mind that any ambulatory person in the state of Ohio would have been capable of running victory formation. Miller specifically can, because OF COURSE HE CAN. Just say that you’re trying to get reps for the kid to run your offense, or that you believe in playing a full 60 minutes, or that you never know if that extra touchdown might influence the playoff rankings.
There are still some lies that are just too stupid to tell.