Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A banner night at the ballpark

6:47 p.m.: Drinking beer in the parking lot next to PNC Park.
Top 1st: Carlos Gonzalez homers to left, Dexter Fowler scores. 2-0 Rockies.
Bottom 1st: Enters ballpark, rolls eyes at scoreboard. Alex Presley doubled to right. Jose Tabata inexplicably bunts him over. Andrew McCutchen grounded out to short, Presley scored. Some other awful shit happened. Jamie Moyer is 49 years old. 2-1 Rockies.
Bottom 3rd: Casey McGehee grounds out to third, ending the inning. Pedro Alvarez did not start this game, presumably because Jamie Moyer is left-handed. Gotta protect Pedro from that 49-year-old salad-thrower. We visit Pete's girlfriend, Liz, and try our hand at the prize wheel.
Top 4th: Hot dogs.
Bottom 5th: The Pirates are making Jamie Moyer look like Tom Glavine.
Bottom 7th: Moyer out of the game (6 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 1 er, 3 k, 3 bb, 84 pitches-51 strikes) having pitched every bit as well as Kevin Correia (6 ip, 4 h, 2 r, 2 er, 4 k, 0 bb, 93 pitches, 57 strikes). Moyer sat mainly in the 73-76 mph zone, occasionally touching 78, and dropping in breaking balls in the high 60s. This lost its novelty incredibly quickly. Rockies fans watching at home undoubtedly curse Tracy for pulling Moyer so early when Rex Brothers gives up a double, a single, then a two-run double to McCutchen -- the Pirates' first multi-RBI hit of the season. Brothers walks McGehee before being pulled for Josh Roenicke, who immediately retires three hitters. 3-2 Bucs. Pete disappears.
Top 8th: Jason Grilli on in relief, dealing to Eric Young Jr. Chants of "E-Y!" rain down from somewhere above the third-base line. EY strikes out swinging. Moments later, Dexter Fowler hits a lazy foul ball off the handle of his bat in my direction. It literally hits me right in the hands. I bobble it once into the air and pull it in on second effort. I have waited more than 29 years for this very moment. I yell a quick thank you to Dexter Fowler. He strikes out looking. Moments later, Carlos Gonzales homers to the deepest part of the park, scoring Marco Scutaro. 4-3 Rockies.
Bottom 8th: The texts start coming in from people who saw us on TV. That's pretty cool, but I'm surprised it's taken this long, since there are only about 64 people here tonight. Clint Barmes homered to left. 4-4. Pete returns with free bottles of Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi just as Clint Hurdle starts dipping into the bench. Garrett Jones walks, Presley bunts him over, reaches on fielding error. So many bunts. Too many bunts. Jones nearly picked off of second, is then pulled for a pinch runner. McCutchen grounds into a fielder's choice in a kind of pseudo-bunt. Pedro Alvarez has not appeared. McGehee singles in McCutchen. 5-4 Bucs. Pirates third base coach Nick Leyva takes zero chances.
Top 9th: Hanrahan closes it out with a clean inning, despite a few hard-hit balls. Bucs win.
Epilogue: Back to the mostly-empty parking lot for a post-game beer. We find the Three Rivers Stadium bases marked in the parking lot near Pete's car, and I run from home to second. As we stand and wait for Liz to finish work and meet us, we notice a little blue coupe shaking violently about five empty parking spots down. It's Tuesday. It's nearly 11 p.m. Clint Barmes hit a home run. The Pirates won. Of course there's a couple having excruciatingly public missionary sex in a car that can't possibly have more windows or be any lower to the ground. Nobody's going to top that. We finish our beers, crush the cans and leave them in a pile next to the car.

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