The San Francisco Giants And Cable TV Conspired To Prevent This Blog, But Failed
8:58 AM EDT on August 10, 2023
In the bottom of the sixth inning on Wednesday night, leading 1-0 with no outs and Los Angeles (of Anaheim)'s Luis Rengifo on second base after a ground-rule double, the San Francisco Giants intentionally walked Shohei Ohtani, and I decided they should burn in hell.
It was the first thing I saw in the game. I knew I had Thursday morning blog duty; earlier in the day, I'd checked the baseball TV schedule in the guide on my Xfinity cable box, saw that (according to the guide) Giants-Angels would start at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, and went, "Hell yeah, I'll watch that and I'll blog whatever cool shit Shohei Ohtani does." So I set a reminder—for 11:00 p.m. Eastern, that is—and went serenely about my afternoon and evening, secure that I'd set myself up well for Thursday morning blog duty.
I took my son to his first ever high-school soccer tryout, and then brought him back home. We all ate dinner. We watched probably the first two-thirds of Monty Python and the Holy Grail for the 10,000th time (it won a quick and informal vote as we scrolled through various watchlists and libraries), until I noticed that everybody but me was nodding off to sleep, and they all went to bed. At around 10:55, waiting around for the preprogrammed Giants-Angels reminder to pop onto the TV screen, I idly checked Twitter, for the first time in hours, and the first thing I saw was this:
A few moments of frantically pulling up a live online MLB scoreboard brought me to the infuriating truth: The cable guide had lied to me, right to my face! Giants-Angels had started hours before. It was the sixth damn inning already, by the time the stupid automated reminder that the game was about to begin popped up on my screen.
While I'd been enjoying my evening, foolishly banking on the late west-coast game to supply me blog material for the morning, and thus sure that I didn't need to pay very close attention to any other of the evening's unexceptional-looking sports events, I'd missed Philadelphia's Michael Lorenzen pitching a goddamn no-hitter—and now the game I'd counted on was most of the way over.
But it was fine! It was fine. Ohtani almost certainly had thrown his final pitch of the evening by then, but he was about to come up to bat. Maybe he would sock a frickin' dinger! I pictured it so easily. His shockingly violent swing, the alarming pipe-bomb sound the ball makes off his bat, the crowd roaring at the sound and then exploding when the ball drops into some preposterous part of the stadium 420 feet from home plate. It would be one of those homers Ohtani hits, where he gets under it just a little and the ball takes a sharply steeper arc than the uppercut of his swing—so that, your mind calibrated by years and years of much more normal athletes hitting baseballs, your first impression is that it will be a warning-track flyout, and then it ends up being one of the farthest-hit balls of the season. I'd write all of that about it, on Thursday morning.
And then the Giants frickin' walked him! Even in normal circumstances, intentionally walking an opposing hitter in a situation as mild as that—one guy on second, no outs, a 1-0 lead, with tons of baseball left to play—is losery coward shit. Doing it when that player is Shohei Ohtani and I have been duped by a damn cable box into missing his entire six innings of pitching work and am now in danger of having nothing to blog about for Thursday morning is an act of pure evil. In a just world, for doing that, the Giants would lose all their remaining games by 20 runs apiece. Starting with this one.
The other Angels have a habit of squandering the good fortune Ohtani brings them; it's kind of their thing. This time, though—afire with righteous fury on my behalf, surely—they came through. On a 1-2 count Brandon Drury ripped a crappy Tristan Beck breaking ball into left field, where Joc Pederson made a dogmeat sandwich out of the act of simply picking the ball up with his glove. Rengifo scored to tie the game, Ohtani took third, and Drury ended up at second. The next batter, Mike Moustakas, went down and got an 0-2 breaking ball from Beck, to the exact same spot as the one Drury smacked into left field, and sent it shrieking into the afterlife.
That made it 4-1. The Angels did try to blow it, as is their custom: In the bottom of the ninth, with one out and Brandon Crawford on first, L.A. first baseman C.J. Cron threw what should have been a straightforward double-play ball into left center field, sending Crawford to third and bringing the tying run to the plate. A three-run dinger on the very next pitch would have been less surprising than what happened. LaMonte Wade Jr. popped harmlessly to Drury, a few steps up the baseline behind first, far too shallow for any tag-up attempt. Then Thairo Estrada hit a sharp grounder to Moustakas at third, who made a nice pick and took the force out at second to end the game and deliver a minor victory for justice. And uh for the Angels too I guess.
I consider this partial payment for the Giants' crimes. The bell will have to toll for Xfinity on some other day.