ARLINGTON, Texas – It happened at midnight on the East Coast, the day the World Series was played for the last time after 34 years. There are a lot of possible consequences for the final game of a baseball game. Home Run. Erase One. off the ground. It is a testament to how good players are that what was revealed in the early hours of Sunday morning was tremendous, an unforgettable moment in October, when a World Series game ended due to a fielding error.
Actually, it was two errors. A game like this, jam-packed with so many things that make baseball so addictive, is nothing short of a historical thing – anything more impossible than Bill Buckner’s infamous gaffe on October 25, 1986. Game 4: Los Angeles Prohibition Dodgers catcher Will Smith would drop a ball at home plate that allowed Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Azornaena to get out of the house, pound home plate with his right hand and pull his breathtaking 8 Gifted with 7 wins. The series is also that again.
How this 4-hour, 10-minute pure baseball bliss came together all adds up to its impossibility, but then that’s why the game is bound to go down as one of the most memorable in the 116 World Series . Played. Brett Phillips tried to field off Kenley Johnson on a Kane field to a two-out, two-strike pitch before Chris Taylor made a second mistake in booting the ball, before Azorna scored in the third round. Stumbled after, even before Smith. Howler kicked him off the hook, it was a righteous ballgame, an emotional poise, squeezing hard and tight until the whole thing was too much and bursting in spectacular fashion.
It all started around 2 pm on 27 August. Four days before the trade deadline, the Kansas City Royals agreed to an agreement to send the Phillies a backup outfielder to the Phillies. Phillips was invited. He was a 20-minute drive from Seminal, Florida, Tropicana Field. It did not matter that he would only see 25 plates and would be used mostly as a pinch runner and defensive replacement. He was home. And this amazing Kiran team embraced him as well.
Which is not really difficult. Phillips is one of the most liked players in baseball. When he laughs, he sounds like laughing or pterodactyl blitting. Last week at ALCS, even when he wasn’t even on the Rays’ roster, he spent games in the team’s dugout, walking around with stopwatches and clipboards, a Fox coach who wrote motivational messages, most of which had to do with Arozarena’s postseason. Do with exploits.
It was fitting for the Rays and Phillies, that Game 4’s ninth inning came out as such. The Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who foolishly gave up Pedro Bazz to blow two leads in the first game, gave up his hard-throwing rookie reliever Brusser Greaterroll, who completed the eighth inning, and a minute before midnight Kostley. Called Kenley. Janssen, hoping that his magic did not disappear for good.
This series, or this season, was not the Cinderella’s Dodgers of any manner or variety. They are Leviathans in payroll and talent, and if Jinsen could get a 7-6 lead, which Roberts handed him, they would maintain a 3–1 series lead and win their first World Series exactly two years after Buckner. Will find themselves in a prominent position. Error.
The Rays’ lineup and the defensive alignment of the Dodgers was a complete mess, which occurred four or an hour earlier. The first three games of this series were not really doubles. The Dodgers hit a historical clip with two outsiders. The Rays had stolen the middle game. There was not a single lead change. Good baseball was played by two outstanding baseball teams. It’s hard to pretend.
Game 4 made up for it. There were home runs. From the Dodgers’ Justin Turner in the first and Corey Seeger in the second, highlighted on a night when both went 4-for-5, and all for naught. Arzerna and Hunter Renfro as razors and Brandon Lowe and Kevin Kiermaier battled and struggled and tried to keep pace. Each time he did, the Dodgers responded more. He intercepted the balls the entire evening, placing 19 on seven of the more than 95 mph rays. Tampa Bay was also here, within a run and ready to stare at Jensen, feeling like Provence.
When Jensen first landed a sinker in front of pinch hitter Yoshi Satsugo, a crowd of 11,411 at the Globe Life Field, which turned into Dodgerton South, roared. This was it. They were going to win Game 4, and then Clayton Kershaw, pitching 30 minutes from his hometown of Highland Park, Texas, was going to pitch him to win in Game 5, and his iconic pitcher’s postson disappeared with the Demons Will be done. The iconic franchise running for three decades without the most meaningful types of hardware.
The first pitch cutter, the Kermier, which swam at 93 mph, was the kind of velocity Janssen had found in recent times. This saw the crimson bat down from the knee. The broken bats are not always the same, however, and the ball fell out of reach to dismiss Divers’ second baseman Enrique Hernández in center field. The most difficult ball of the inning came courtesy of Joey Wendall, who was out on left field. With two outs, Ajarna advances.
For about a month, the 25-year-old rogue, almost entirely outside of front office circles and extra-deep fantasy leagues, has looked like the best hitter in the world. His home run in the fourth earned him the title nine times, a major league record. His third hit of the night pushed his total to 26, the most in a single playoff. Arjenaena stood against Jensen, her upper lip penetrating in a slight nap. He took a cutter for a strike, staring at the slider for a ball, fouling a slider, spitting at a cutter away from the plate, staring at each other for a full count, closing a slider and Jensen first attacked after being bounced. A slider for ball four.
This was not the worst result. In the previous inning, Phillips entered as a pinch runner for G-Man Choi, who himself came into the game as a pinch hitter. Under normal circumstances, the Rays may have to pinch for Phillips, but only one bat catch was Michael Perez, whose career numbers are worse than Phillips. The Rays are here in large part because manager Kevin Cash leverages his roster so efficiently and uses his 28 players, but to say that Phillips wanted to race plate with the game on the line would be some kind of revisionism. This is playoff baseball. That’s why Taylor, who last played center field 12, found himself in the ninth inning. Dodgers general center fielder Cody Belinger had to DH as his back was tight before the game, and Roberts was pinched with Jock Pederson to replace AJ Pollock, whose single in the seventh gave him a 6-5 lead. Moved beyond. The move was lacking until it happened.
Before it was clear that the Phillies would bat, Paul Hoover, the Rays’ field coordinator, told him that he was going to win the game. Rodney Linares, the Rays’ third-base coach who managed the Phillies when he was highly likely evasive in the Houston Astros system, pulled his mask down after Phillips stared at a ball and then two strikes and shouted: “Enough Swing the bat baby! ”
Phillips swung on the fourth pitch. It was a 92 mph cutter, in the middle, where Phillips likes it. Never mind that in his career with two strikes, he was 205 for 22, a .107 hitter. Nevermind that he had not recorded a hit since September 25, two days before the end of the regular season. Never mind that he only saw two plates in October. Never mind that he took only 10 swings in the batting cage behind Rage’s dugout to prepare for the biggest batting of his life. Never mind that the ball came off his bat at only 82.8 mph.
Never mind anything, because what players like Brett Phillips tell, what such moments remind us, is that baseball’s unpredictability is its finest quality. There is nothing about whether Phillips was ready to be a hero, and yet he was, as an eighth grader the kid shouted to himself as the Rays advanced to a World Series in 2008, which was a Shift did not win beyond the ball, Chris Taylor and in history.
Everything unfolded in the next 13 seconds. Kiramir making a ticking run. Taylor’s error. Azorena never breaks up until she collapses. Linares went back to third, yelling at him in Spanish. Smith does not realize that Ajarna has fallen and is trying to sweep a relay throw from Max Muncy. Ball Squirrel Away. Janssen did not support the play. Azorena dived into the house, rolling her right hand over the plate nine times.
Phillips scored the second goal and ran forever. He had seen Kirmaier run like an airplane with his arms outstretched and thought it was funny, so he tried it. The rays met him in left field and roamed around them. Phillips could not breathe. He extricated himself from the pile and thanked his knees. His smile was iridescent. He wanted to hug his wife, Brie. She was working at a jewelry store in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was not in a bubble, so the closest they got was pregame, when she was standing at the concourse and told him she loved him, the most. Not knowing the big moment after her life – after marrying her, Phillips made sure to note – would be hours later.
This game, which was 1-0 ahead, then 2-0, then 2-1, then 3-1, then 3-2, then 4-2, then 5-4, then 6-5, then 6-6 . Then 7-6 and finally 8-7, Joe Lowe said he was singled out at the age of 10 to play the final, and what Roberts called “an unseasonal storm” that left Reema with the Parma-Grins and the Dodgers off the field. Ran out ‘Happened, everything was. Another strike and series is completely different. Another inch of movement on Janssen’s cutter. Another leg of the defensive position on Kiermaier’s blooper. Permutations are infinite and solutes are unavoidable. The cruelty of one is the beauties of the other. The Dodgers had scored six runs with two outs. Ray scored only two runs with two outs that mattered.
“Baseball,” Kirmeyer said, “works mysteriously.”
On a night like this, it is easy to fall back on those types – for whatever reason the gods would have to do such things – on the baseball gods smiling on a team. It was impossible to listen to Brett Maverick Phillips, whose family calls him Maverick, and not to accept or embrace or understand his appreciation. As self-respecting as baseball can be, the more frustrated and desperate the game can be, there is always the pretense of having children in the backyard.
One run down.
Hometown Man in Plate.
He wins it.
“Keep dreaming big,” Phillips said. “These opportunities, they are closer than you think.”
He laughed, not in one of his caves, but with an awakened body. Fourteen years after the most famous error in baseball history, he was right there in disgrace for his cousin, in the second round, like a child whose plane dream backward had actually become a reality.