I really thought that it would be a west coast trip that would finally do me in. The games start at 10PM here in Cleveland when the Tribe is on the left coast, and even if I catch a nap before the game or during the early innings, it’s usually about 1AM before Bob comes in to do his thing. Being the early guy at work, the lack of sleep combined with Bobby’s gut-wrenching performances pretty much turns me into one of those zombies from “Dawn of the Dead” the next day.
But it was Bob’s August 23rd
stress-fest in Tampa Bay that took at least a year off of my life. It was a true
masterpiece; a miracle filled ninth where everything that can possibly go wrong
did and we still won the game. From most of the Warriors checking in the next
day, the line of the evening seemed to go something like “Oh God, I don’t
think I can stand to watch this again…”
With a 5-4 Indians lead, leadoff batter Toby
Hall sent a Wickman fastball screaming about 1 foot foul of the left field foul
pole before being retired on a fantastic diving catch by Coco Crisp a pitch
later. Bob seemed to be on his way to a 1-2-3 inning after inducing a groundout
to short by Alex Gonzalez for the second out, but then Julio Lugo began the
tightrope walk with a single to left. Carl Crawford found the hole between 1st
and 2nd ,
sending Lugo to third.
he stole second on Bobby’s first
pitch to Jorge Cantu. In an attempt to quick-pitch Cantu, Bob made an apparent
balk that wasn’t called by any of the 4 umpires, sending Rays manager Lou
Pinella into one of his patented, hysterical on- field meltdowns. The balk would
have scored Lugo from third with the tying run if called.
Like a fine orchestra conductor, the maestro
Wickman brought down the house on the next pitch by knocking down Cantu’s hard
liner to the mound and tossing it to first to end the exhilarating production.
My breathing and heart rate returned to normal about 20 minutes later, and I
just had to laugh at the replays of Bob giving high-fives going through the
the Indians do make the playoffs this year, I may have to watch the games in the
nearest hospital emergency room just to be on the safe side. Like I’ve said
here many times before, anyone that thinks baseball is a boring game isn’t a
Bob Wickman fan.