Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Mood Swing

When John Smoltz went down last night in agonizing pain, the entire intensity level at RFK Stadium changed dramatically. Jason Bergmann was pitching a No Hitter that moment, looking strong, heading to the 8th inning. Everyone, both players, fans and coaches were into the ever building suspense. In Section 320 we began to worry--once Smoltz dislocated his right pinkie finger.

Jason had that once in a lifetime magical stuff going. Everything was lining up beautifully. In Section 320 we began to talk how the Smoltz injury was potentially changing the outlook of the game, taking away the intensity. Similar to when Ramon Ortiz homered in the bottom of the 8th last Labor Day while pitching a no hitter. Ortiz seen jumping around the bases after his homer, lost focus. Feeling invisible, he was anything but. In each case, the mood swing altered the future. Bergmann now thinking about something else. Something he otherwise would not consider. Focusing late is how you throw a No-Hitter, along with some luck. Anything that changes the atomosphere affects the outcome.

Sure enough, Bergmann let loose a rising fastball in Brian McCann's wheelhouse, ending the No Hitter with a no doubt Home Run. Crushing it was, to witness. You had to feel for Jason Bergmann. How different would the outcome had been if Smoltz does not run into Kearns, or Ryan Langerhans does not miss the bunt, setting up that fateful rundown.

Although neither his fault, Austin Kearns has been unfortunately involved in collisions with two outstanding players (Nick Johnson the other). You don't think that odd suggestion did not run into Jason Bergmann's mind? We were talking about it right away in Section 320 (And, just to be perfectly clear, I am not blaming Kearns for anything. In fact, he did NOTHING WRONG in last night's rundown. Smoltz stuck his pitching hand in where it should not have been-- a mental mistake on John's part).

Yet, The Mood Swing, both on the field, and in the stands after John Smoltz got injured, altered the entire future of this game. That fact, I had no doubt.

InGame Photos (AP) Harz N. Ganbari


Anonymous said...

According to MLB.com, John Smoltz saw the replay and admitted his mistake. "In the heat of the moment, I thought he was trying to knock the ball loose," Smoltz said. "But he was just trying to get out of the way. His elbow hit my pinky and chipped my finger and I was looking at [my finger standing] straight up."

Other than that, whatta game! I have also never seen a no-hitter and really want to. As I watched McCann's homer, I had conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I love watching a Braves player (especially my boy McCann) hit a beautiful long ball like that. On the other, I really wanted to see a no hitter. Not only was Bergman incredible, it was great that Smoltz did well, to, so it was such a close game.

(also, I was the one who came over in the 8th inning. it was nice to meet you all last night.)

Screech's Best Friend said...

Hannah: Please stop by again and stay for awhile. We would love to talk with you some more. THANKS

Obi-Run Kenobi said...

I agree with your sentiments about the need for focus late in a ballgame. I'd be willing to bet that the lack of focus has haunted the Nats far more often than Monday night, costing us numerous games. Just another piece of The Plan that needs implementing, I guess.

Anyway, I really enjoy reading your blog. Do you have any plans to set up a photo gallery? Or if there's already one somewhere on the site, please point me in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

True enough. We felt it up in our yellow seats too. Despite the disappointment over ending the bid for the no-no, I was even more impressed with how Jason got it together to retire the next 3 hitters. Perhaps this indication that Jason is in a great place mentally is even better in the long term (the plan) than if he had gotten a no hitter.