With 162 games in a season, very few games live into any kind of hoped-for outcome. Instead, most are just baseball games. Some good things happen, some bad things happen. Nothing really outlandish or crazy happens, and one of the teams wins. Sometimes it takes a few extra innings.
But occasionally, the thing you want to happen – the thing you really hope will happen, but don’t expect to happen – does. It might take a booted ball and a blown save to get there, but it’s worth it, right?
Leading off the 12th inning, Javier Baez, making his big league debut, launched a 400+ foot shot to deep right center, giving the Cubs a 6-5 lead. To that point, I’d written Javy’s night up this way:
“The debut for Javier Baez was, in my book, OK. Although he struck out three times, one was in a long at bat (featuring a called strike that may not have been a strike) when he didn’t look too bad, and the other two came off guys who were striking out lots of dudes. His two non-strikeout-outs were both well-struck – a hard grounder to the left that is probably a hit if Nolan Arenado isn’t over there making a nice play, and a REALLY hard rocket to right that wound up just shy of the track. At second base, he handle every easy chance he got, but booted the one tough play that came his way (a chopper on which he should have made a play, but was generously not given an error).
All in all, a fine start. On another day, in another park against another team, maybe the two hard-hit balls wind up as a single and a double. That they didn’t shouldn’t really change the way we evaluate how Baez performed. He pretty much did what we expected him to do. The adjustment process begins.”
I suppose it’s important to say that it all pretty much holds. The homer was fan-freaking-tastic, and makes for a hell of a great story. But the other stuff is still there.
As for the game, itself, Travis Wood was acceptable, but not great. The Cubs got most of their offense from a ridiculous string of walks by the Rockies – like, all of the Rockies – in the 7th, and then from some more walks in the 11th. But for the grounder Baez probably should have fielded cleanly in the 11th, and a couple other hits given up by Hector Rondon to blow the save, we don’t get to see Baez do his thing in the 12th. Baseball is freaking ridiculous, and awesome.
If somebody had written this story, you probably wouldn’t have believed it. Big dumb grin? Big dumb grin.