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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baseball Tonight

As I sit here, Virginia is up 2 to 1 in the elimination game against Arkansas. It's a great pitching dual with great defense, a baseball purist dream. You might think this was a boring game. You might think baseball is boring, but it isn't. At any one point there are four or five things going on. The catcher is calling signals, the batter is getting set for 90 mph of hard leather, the pitcher is shaking off calls and the fielders are getting set. All this tension before each pitch and this is repeated hundreds of times in a single game. There is actually too much going on to pay attention to. You just sit back and absorb it till something really happens and then you feel the crowd stir. There are very few organized cheers in baseball. It is a collective experience and there is always a background chatter that rises and falls. When a pitcher is mowing them down, the crowd cheers every strike. It is a natural thing and you feel part of the game.

Now UVA is up 3 to 1 in the top of the 9th. Three more outs to go, now two. You can feel the excitement building. The chatter is starting to rise.

Batter up... Ball one, Ball two, 2 and 0. Ball three, fast ball on the corner, Strike one. Another strike, full count. Ground ball, runner out at first. One more out to go.

Staccato clapping in the background, the chatter builds, two quick strikes... Ball one, high. Ground ball, base hit, Arkansas is still alive.

The crowd becomes quiet. Ball one, ... Steeerike, 1 and 1. High fly ball, two run homer. It's a tie game. Holy cow! (Did he really say that?) The Arkansas crowd comes alive. The whole team celebrates. There is joy in Little Rock.

There will be a bottom of the ninth. Arkansas is lighting up Cavalier pitching. They were one strike away and now the pitcher is having trouble throwing strikes. The worm has turned. Two on, two out and the pitcher is being relieved. Time for browsing while he warms up.

Force out, we go to the bottom of the 9th, tied at 3.

Update, Virginia has two men on, nobody out. Arkansas changes pitchers... more surfing.

Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out and the infield is in. Arkansas maps strategy on the mound.

And now there is another pitching change, still more surfing.

Three and Oh, Steerike one.

Oh man, double play. The shortstop bobbles the ball, but turns the double play. Extra innings.

Bottom on the 10th, double down the line, runner in scoring position, nobody out. Bunt towards third, runner doesn't go! Batter out at 1st.

Single up the middle, runners at first and third. Better baserunning and this game would be over.

God, whoever is doing the close captioning on this broadcast is typing like crazy, no typos either.

Runners at 2nd and 3rd, 2 strikes, the pitch ... He struck him out. Were going to the eleventh and I'm going to watch the game on the radio. Go Hoos!

Look at me, I can be... Centerfield.

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