There's an old saying... "Better lucky than good"
And after yet another late inning blown save one run loss, I'm guessing there are many more old sayings that come to mind, but I'm sure the newspaper/TV folks will take care of the G and PG rated ones, and you Cub fans will take care of the PG13, R and yes, even a few X-rated ones. Probably more than a few. But when it comes to corralling home run balls on the streets, "better lucky than good" was certainly the case today.
With a strong wind in from the North, the only realistic chance of a ball coming out would be one hit to right field, i.e. left-handed batters. So bottom of 3rd, Glendon Rusch - a lefty - is leading off for the Cubs, and Dave and I are over on Sheffield. But let's be honest here - the only reason we're over there is because Corey Patterson is on-deck - a lefty with power. So we're standing around waiting for Glendon to do what pitchers usually do - flail away at a few pitches and then go back to the bench.
I could not have been more wrong. No flailing here - Glendon reached out and whaled on one! I heard the crack, and it sounded good, but the thought of a home run coming out still hadn't entered my mind. Then the roar of the crowd grew, fans were standing up, and I started to get nervous because I had absolutely no idea where the ball was. So I'm doing what I laughed at others for doing (see Monday's 9/27 post) - running around in the street, looking up wildly in the sky.
Finally, I see the ball coming down to my left, about the middle of the street. I know I'm not going to be able to catch it on the fly so I start to run back to play the hop. Of course, I misjudge that, so I start to circle around to where it's coming down and stick my glove out in a desperate backhanded lunge, but there's a passerby right there. And if he didn't have a cell phone in his hand, he would've picked it clean. But he bobbled it, we had some incidental contact, and the ball heads to the ground. I take a tumble in that general direction and finally cover it up with my glove.
Certainly not the most elegant of catches - more like a Keystone Kops routine. But you tend to feel less foolish if at least you end up with the ball. So I was more than happy to walk away with a scraped knee, a scuffed ball, and only a slight bruise to my ego. Did a little research when I got home and looks like this was Glendon's third career homer.
We ballhawks have been talking amongst ourselves on who would be the first pitcher to put one out on the street this year (Maddux did it many years ago). Based on what we saw during BP and games, most were saying Wood, some were going with Zambrano, and my money was on Prior. Clearly, we were all wrong. Congratulations, Glendon - hope you cleaned up on any clubhouse bets.
Wednesday, September 29: No BP, Roof-2 [A-2,C-0], Foul-0, HR-1 [W-0,S-1]