Sunday, October 11, 2009
On the downside of an illustrious, productive and near Hall Of Fame Career--with most of his prime years played in the obscurity of the fading light of The Montreal Expos--nothing could have pleased me more than to watch Vladimir Guerrero stroke the final clutch and eventual game winning two run single against The Boston Red Sox this afternoon at Fenway Park. The last of four key at-bats to a dramatic three run rally in this American League Division Series by The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
An unlikely three game sweep.
A near miracle comeback in the top of the 9th inning that SILENCED The BoSox & Red Sox Nation.
All with two outs and with The Angels' Erick Aybar, Chone Figgins and Bobby Abreu ALL being down to their LAST strikes before Guerrero swung away at the first pitch offered by Boston's Closer--Jonathan Papelpon.
This affair was all but over about four times with Game 4 scheduled for tomorrow between these two teams.
Instead, just a remarkable series of events sent The Red Sox home for the season. And The Angels back to Southern California to await the beginning of The American League Championship Series.
Baseball just does not get more exciting or as thrilling as today's series clincher by Los Angeles.
You have to appreciate someone like Vladi that battled his entire career to reach a moment like this. Then, see him finally succeed in the post-season after so much disappointment beforehand.
How satisfying to watch Guerrero's face light up like a kid again.
How pleasing to watch Old Number 27 enjoying the undeniable thrill of the moment.
How delightful to see Vladi receive hugs from not only all his teammates and coaches--but The Angels Owner--Arte Moreno.
Everyone involved with The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim understood the importance of Vladimir Guerrero stroking the series clinching hit today.
Only in baseball can such rich story be woven. Only in The Great Game can a flashback to one's career accomplishments be brought forward and cherished liked Vladimir's were this Sunday in Fenway Park.
Nothing against The Boston Red Sox and their wonderful team, but this afternoon was special at Fenway Park because an aging and once great player (now just merely good) for The Los Angeles Angels had a career defining moment in the post-season. The time when any accomplishment--whether good or bad--is remembered forever (just ask Aaron Boone about that. Or, Bill Buckner).
Vladimir Guerrero had his great moment to remember this October 11th 2009.
Remarkable actually. In fact, the entire top half of the 9th inning after two were out for The Angels was just an incredible series of events. What are the odds of three straight batters facing their final strike and their team's game elimination and each reaching base?
This is exactly why Baseball Is The Greatest Game. No Time Clock to run out. You have to record every single out to win. Boston didn't--until it was too late.
PS--But it does raise the question why in world did Jonathan Papelbon throw a fastball over the middle of the plate to the very batter that will swing and make contact on the same pitch if thrown two feet off the plate? There's the strike zone. And then there is The Vladi Strike Zone. Big Difference. What in the world was Papelbon thinking?
Today's InGame Photos--Michael Dwyer (AP)