It's foreseeable that losses can be harder than the one KC suffered today in Minnesota, but I don't believe it. (To the baseball gods: this is NOT a challenge.) It's not that the Royals thoroughly outplayed their opponent or the opponent tried giving the game away, but within three hours and forty-two minutes, it's just that the repetition of failure, the selfsameness of botched and aborted rallies, the predictability of the strikeout and the stranded runner, the heartless effrontery of it all... is utterly infuriating. Even when things appear to go right, like when Reggie Sanders knocks a potential double-play ball out of Alexi Casilla's glove and advances to third, you just knew someone was gonna screw something up. I hate that feeling. In this case, the screw-up was Sanders tagging up and trying to score on a pop-up to Jason Bartlett. That's Jason Bartlett, shortstop. As you can guess, Sanders was out by eight or so feet. (On a related note, if there's a less masculine baseball name in North America than "Alexi Casilla," please present it.)
And who can forget that delightful top of the 10th when, with Joe Nathan on the mound and two out, Royals third base coach Brian Poldberg -- who kind of looks like Gallagher -- decided to hold Ross Gload on Alex Gordon's single to right. Gload, in case you need me to mention it, WAS IN SCORING POSITION WITH TWO OUTS. How does he not score on a single to right? That wasn't even hit very hard?! HOW DOES BRIAN POLDBERG HOLD HIM AT THIRD? These are the times I scream, WHY? WHY? WHY?!?!?! I pause to wonder, Is EVERY fate conspiring against Gordon now? The kid could have had the game-winning RBI!
All told for the offense: 14 stranded runners, 13 strikeouts (to 10 walks... we have a patient team, at least), runners who were in scoring position in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, and 10th, and -- this you already know -- 0 runs. A miserable 1-0 loss. I wonder if it wouldn't have been better if either Bartlett or Sanders had rushed the mound after their HBPs. I mean, I wouldn't have wanted to see Zack Greinke -- a fine seven-inning performance, if not altogether good for the nerves -- fend against any onrushing man, but I mean, how hard can it be fighting a team that has a guy named Alexi Casilla?
POSTSCRIPT: This comes from Royal Reflections: Our very own Ross Gload, it seems, has been profiled in The New York Times. Way to go, man. I guess one of the perks of growing up in New York -- to countervail, supposedly, the kid with purple hair and queer with AIDS and some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time and the 20-year-old mom with four kids (NOT my words... I live in New York, and while some of these towners are admittedly a bit off kilter, this is a GREAT city, best in the world) -- is the gaggle of mediafolk who write stories about you 13 years after you've by all accounts ceased to be relevant to any of them. As Royal Reflections reported already, Gload was quoted as saying, "They're going to have to go into my locker and pry the uniform out of there to make me go home." That's nice, that's really nice.