The camera cut to the dugout and found a pair eyes, closed for what seemed like an eternity.
Eventually, Jeff Banister's eyes opened. The rest of his face did not move. Delino DeShields, the tying runner, had just been thrown out at third base by a laser-perfect Jarrod Dyson throw, and instead of runners on first and third with two outs and Adrian Beltre at the plate, the inning was over with the score stuck at 8-7 where it would stay for the rest of the night.
You don’t order a bowl of housefly soup and feign shock and dismay when you find a fly in it, so perhaps it is an exercise in futility to wonder how yet another game this season could end in such a groin-kick of a result. It’s August 1st. You kinda know what this season is by now. Of the 25 men on the Opening Day roster, just 13 remain. Sam Dyson and Mike Hauschild and Jeremy Jeffress and Jonathan Lucroy and Jurickson Profar and A.J. Griffin and Yu Darvish are not here. Some of them will return. Most of them will not.
So when Nick Martinez allows seven runs in 5⅓ innings and the team commits three more errors to add to last night’s four, and Tony Barnette enters the game with two on and one out and they both eventually score because Robinson Cano is probably a Hall of Famer (argue with Jay Jaffe, not me) what are you gonna do? You either enjoy baseball enough to sit through a game like this, or you don’t.
It’s never fun to watch the Rangers lose, but you know what is fun? Watching Joey Gallo hit a ball to the roof of the center field Hyundai Club. Everyone in the press box, including Human Rangers Encyclopedia John Blake, agreed it was the longest home run to center field in Globe Life Park history. Who knows if Statcast got it right when they said 464, but longest in park history is good enough for me. It was fun to watch him hit his second home run of the night, this one also to center field, but hitting Greene’s Hill with such force that it bounced back onto the center field grass.
It was fun to watch Rougned Odor continue to rake, hitting his fourth home run in his last three games. It was fun to watch Keone Kela come in and blow people away for the seventh inning, followed by Alex Claudio just absolutely Barry Sandersing the side in the eighth. It was nice to see Mike Napoli break a nine-strikeouts-in-ten-at-bats streak with singles in consecutive innings, the latter of which pulled the Rangers to within a run.
It’s still baseball, and it’s still worth watching.
However, it would be intellectually dishonest to say it was fun to watch the bottom of the eighth, when Delino DeShields, pinch-running for Shin-Soo Choo, paused as he approached second base. Nomar Mazara had dunked a two-out line drive in front of Jarrod Dyson, and DeShields was the tying run. DeShields could have played it safe, taking second and staying put, trusting that his speed meant he was in scoring position with the team’s best hitter (Beltre) coming up. Or if he knew he could make it, he could have put his head down and locked on to third base from the moment the bat kissed the ball.
Instead, he paused. It was just enough for Dyson to make a throw that he couldn’t have aimed better with a remote control. DeShields was out by an inch or two. The inning was over, followed in short order by the rest of the game.
That wasn’t fun.