Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Our King is better than your King

Enkidu loses his animal powers. He and Gilgamesh, however, are bound to clash and soon Enkidu is hurling a challenge at the great king. "I will challenge him boldly, and I will cry aloud in Uruk," says Enkidu. "'I have come to change the old order, for I am the strongest here.'" That night the king comes and the two men fight "like bulls locked together." But at length their fury gives way to a mutual respect for each other's valor, a respect that was to become a bond of legendary friendship.
-- from Melvin G. Williams's synopsis of
The Epic of Gilgamesh
(my bold)

Felix the kid, barely 21, can hurl smoke and fire, but he cannot change the old order, nor can other false kings who step onto the field enshadowed by that ginormous crown.

INTERLUDE: We're not sure if King Felix, as he's called in the northwest, refers to himself as such, but according to Wikipedia, the nickname was given to him by the rascals over at U.S.S. Mariner in 2003, when he was still in the minors.

I should note here that USSM, a fine weblog that I linked to yesterday, posted this on the true king, the one and only Gilgamesh, in May. It's an entry that expresses high skepticism of his hot start -- you remember: 1.91 ERA, 47 K's to 16 walks, etc. -- even while conceding that, "Right now, it looks like everyone who said he had 'ace stuff' and potential were right, and we were wrong." I know we're only halfway done, but when can Royals fans unite under the banner I-Told-You-So?

Meche and Hernandez both gave up two quick runs, but each settled down to work into the 7th. Meche went 6.1 and gave up five hits and three walks with one strikeout. Hernandez was slightly better, going eight innings while allowing five hits and one walk and striking out five.

It was Meche's team, however, that was favored by the gods. David DeJesus led off the 11th inning with a double, then got bunted over by Mark Teahen, No. 3 in the batting order and one of the best hitters on the team. If he didn't execute the bunt, my laptop would be five floors down, shattered on the sidewalk right now. Who bunts with their No. 3 hitter? In any case, the next batter -- pinch hitter Emil Brown, the last body on the Royals' bench -- hit a deep fly to center to bring home the winning run.

3-2 in 11... say goodbye to Seattle's eight-game winning streak and hello to interim manager John McLaren, who, if he retired today, would hold a pristine losing percentage of 100.

Royals manager Buddy Bell, for his part, wasn't satisfied with how long it took to pull out the win. Three times his team had a potential walk-off run in scoring position with less than two outs, and only on the third try did someone come through.

"We need to be more aggressive in those situations," Bell said -- which, I hope, doesn't really mean, "We need to be more aggressive at the plate." Perhaps he was referring to the play in the 9th, when Teahen singled with Esteban German on second and third base coach Brian Poldberg -- correctly, I thought -- decided to hold German.

"I think we tend to be too particular with our strike zone," Bell continued. "And we just have to be more aggressive. The problem with a young team a lot of times is that they don't quite understand that the pitchers the one that's in trouble. The hitters not the one in trouble."

[As of 2:08 a.m., Yahoo hasn't corrected those blatant possessive-s errors, so for the time being, we'll rectify the situation by saying, SIC and SIC.]

I'm not sure I agree with Bell, but hey, the Royals' best hitter laid down a bunt to set up the walk-off sacrifice fly, so what do I know.

I know Gil Meche is a winner, that's what.

POSTSCRIPT: The Internet is a wacky, screwed up place -- don't ever let your kids near it. Dave Chappelle once did a skit in which he imagined he walked into a mall that was "The Internet," though I think he got it wrong; the Internet is less like a mall than a crowded flea market, where the people who lobby for attention by peddling junk and speaking gobbly-gook far outnumber the legitimate merchants. Take this website, which I came across while surfing for articles on our conquering hero. Here's an excerpt:

Time will tell whether the daughters of Iraq become the Mothers of God,
of if they descend again to the darkness of Hades....

It kind of goes on like that for a while.

POSTSCRIPT 2: Bay Area columnist apologizes for this (see PS 2).

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