For the last time conscience calls
For a good friend I was never there at all
Yesterday Joe Sheehan wrote this in the Joe Sheehan Newsletter: “I tend to graze, particularly on short-schedule nights where I can follow 3-4 games without getting overwhelmed. Not tonight. At 8, this game gets the full-screen treatment and stays there for three hours. These might be the two best teams in the AL, and the starters are two of the top five starters in the game: Justin Verlander taking on Yu Darvish. . . . This isn’t a game you analyze. This is put-your-feet-up, close-the-laptop, pour-a-drink baseball.”
Well, yes, and no.
Agreed on the part about steering clear of over-scrutiny, which is partly why yesterday morning’s word count was what it was.
And normally, I’d be all about the last part, too, but I didn’t watch any of the big Boston series, and that turned out pretty well, so it felt like the right thing to do last night was to watch no baseball.
Actually not completely true. I’d bought tickets 45 days earlier to see Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band whose first release was a few weeks after the epic Nolan Ryan-Roger Clemens matchup on April 30, 1989, a 2-1 Rangers win in which the two horses each threw over 120 pitches. Lots of local media referred to that game yesterday in previewing Darvish-Verlander. Forty-five days ago, I didn’t know who would be pitching on May 16, but I knew who would be playing at the Kessler, and I wasn’t going to miss that.
And for that matter, I didn’t see that initial Ryan-Clemens matchup, either, I can’t remember what I spent that Sunday afternoon doing, but as a college sophomore it probably wasn’t trying to find a place showing the Rangers game, and back then you couldn’t get Holtz and Nadel on Austin radio.
I sit here this morning looking at a box score that looks nothing like the pitchers’ duel that Ryan-Clemens not only promised but also delivered. I see 17 hits and 14 runs, a third inning that evidently lasted almost an hour, a 7 for 16 night from the Rangers’ bottom four (including a Geo Soto homer off Verlander that was so Bengie-Molina-off-David-Price and a two run-scoring Mitch Moreland doubles that were so Mitch Moreland), two Verlander bases-loaded walks, and 90 Darvish strikes. One Rangers debut (Cory Burns) and one former Rangers farmhand’s big league debut (Evan Reed).
An epically hyped regular season matchup that turned out to be the worst of Verlander’s 253 career starts.
But I didn’t hear a minute of Eric Nadel. I was instead spending my Thursday night at his favorite place. While he spent his at mine.
(My socks, it should be pointed out, however, did not match.)
The Rangers’ offense put a beating on baseball’s preeminent moundbeast, something they did with a bit of regularity back in the early-’90s days that Toad brought back with precision last night, before a standing-room-only crowd that measured maybe 500, including me and, as I would find out, at least six of you, too.
There’s indecision when you know you ain’t got nothing left, but not for me last night. I had somewhere else to be, which felt just about right the way this season has started, and the upshot is that Texas 10, Detroit 4 is a game Sheehan and I just aren’t going to analyze.
I will say this, however: Thursday night rocked.