Last night, in the sixth inning, I began flipping over to the Los Angeles Angels game from the hockey game. I was having, as a treat, a little multi-sport night. But I began flipping to this meaningless game because it was threatening to become meaningful. Shohei Ohtani, starting pitcher for the Angels, was one hit away from the cycle.
He had walked in the first, singled in the third, homered in the fourth, and tripled in the fifth. How had he already had four plate appearances by the fifth inning? That's the Orioles' problem, not ours. All he needed was a double. Sure, he only had eight doubles this year, but he had only had two triples! He could do it, I thought.
And I was wrong. In the seventh, he grounded out. I was biting my nails! Would he bat again? He would, but when he came to bat in the ninth, he hit a mere single.
Thank god! What a close one! Whew! How awful it would have been had he hit for the cycle. It would have been too cool, too sick, too awesome. We couldn't have survived it as a country!
Here is an incomplete list of bad things I think would have happened had Shohei Ohtani hit for the cycle last night:
I would have cried.
Camden Yards would have burst into flames.
All the grass would have died immediately.
Young boys would quit baseball. What else, after all is there to strive for?
The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown would have immediately crumbled.
Ohtani's interpreter would forget how to speak Japanese.
I would forget how to speak English.
The minor-league system would collapse because all the players got too envious and quit.
Ohtani is the only player for whom reaching base five times and pitching seven innings could be disappointing. But luckily, I'm not disappointed. We were spared from ruin, when you think about it. I'm not upset at all that I spent a good portion of my evening watching the Angels face the Orioles. I feel great, actually.