Wednesday, June 13, 2007

When Vidro Takes The Stand

See that Turbo guy
Make that baseball fly
When he takes a run
He's gonna get 'em goin' till he's got it done

Two of my friends were moving to Seattle this week, driving up from Austin. They arrived this afternoon, so a bunch of us made plans this evening to get together for dinner. We chose Hale's Ales as a gathering place, because one of my friends really digs the chocolate porter cheesecake, and another digs the beer.

As we walk in, a bit after 8pm, one friend looks at the TV and says, "Oh, and Deanna can watch the Mariners game, while we're at it, too. Are they winning?"

Me, I'm figuring that they're actually just showing game highlights or something, since I didn't know it was still going on. It had been 3-2 last time I'd checked the score, around 7pm. "They're in Chicago, so the game started at 5, it should have been over by now... wow, extra innings? They're in the 11th, it looks like. Holy crap."

We get seated at a table; I can see the TV to my left, but not directly in front of me. One of my friends looks up at the screen. "Who do the Mariners have pitching? Lefty, number 59?"

"Oh, that's Eric O'Flaherty," I say.

"Is he any good?"

"He's not bad."

The game goes on. We order our food and drinks. I can't help but look at the TV. "Hey, wow, THAT's crazy... Jose Vidro's playing second base."

Our drinks show up. "Zambrano's pinch-hitting? What? I guess he's a righty and Jason Marquis bats lefty, but still..."

The game goes on. We get our food. "Ha, look at that, they're intentionally walking Yuniesky Betancourt... OH, to get to Willie Bloomquist. That makes sense."

I finish my food, and I'm staring at the screen during Willie's at-bat, and that's when I see the funniest thing I've seen in a baseball game in a long time. I start cracking up.

"What's so funny?"


I'm explaining about Vidro and how he's kind of fat and slow, and they show the replay. It's even better the second time. Willie Bloomquist hits a single to right, and then they show Vidro rounding third hesitantly. Garcia's waving him on nonetheless, and so Vidro kinda "runs" for it, looking doomed the whole way.

Unfortunately, the throw from Jacque Jones gets to the plate before he does.

Fortunately, he avoids the tag.

Unfortunately, he avoids the plate.

Fortunately, Michael Barrett drops the ball.

Vidro runs back and touches the plate and the umpire signals safe, and by that point my entire table of friends, even the ones who don't like baseball, are also cracking up. Our plates get cleared and the waiter asks whether anyone wants anything else. By that point Burke's singled in Betancourt and the game is 5-3. Lou comes out in a fury to change pitchers.

I'm not hungry at all. "Can we see the dessert menu, please?" I ask anyway. I'm trying to stall everyone so I can see how this all ends up.

We order a three-berry crisp to split, and my porter-cheesecake-loving friend orders the porter cheesecake.

"Putz in! Game over!" I say, despite that I know it's a reference that won't go anywhere. Half of the people at my table aren't even aware that we have a pitcher named Putz, and they start giggling over that.

Sadly, it suddenly doesn't really look like Game Over after all. There are runners on first and second with Alfonso Soriano at the plate, and our desserts arrive. "I have a feeling this is going to have one of two outcomes," I'm saying as I grab a spoon. "Either Soriano's going to hit a 3-run homer and the game will be over, or he'll strike out and the game will be over."

The count gets up to 3 and 0. "Or they could WALK him, huh?" says one of my friends.

At this point we realize that the three berry crisp we ordered is totally burnt, not just on the surface, but the entire thing tastes kind of charred. So that sucks. And JJ Putz is out there with the bases loaded and only a two-run lead, and he's nibbling the corners, only they're burnt too. That also sucks. I try to call our waiter over to complain about the burnt berry crisp, except he's staring at the screen watching the game as well.

And then Koyie Hill -- whoever he is -- grounds out towards first, JJ Putz running to the base to make the play. And the game is over. And the Mariners win!

The waiter apologizes for the burnt dessert and takes it off our bill.

Good times.

Now I just have to convert my newly-Seattleite friends to become baseball fans...

(To see the video of the play in question, go to the game recap and click on "Bloomquist's RBI single". I laughed. I cried. It was better than Chicago. I wanted to watch it again and again...)

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