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A Love and Hate Relationship

April 20, 2011 - Al Stephenson
It's not easy being a baseball fan. You have 162 regular season games to achieve a sense of euphoria or experience the depths of despair. For me it's really tough, as I have to follow the travails of the Cleveland Indians.

After the debacle of Opening Day I wrote that this year would be different. No ups and downs. Just downs. They were blown out by the White Sox in that opener and lost again the next day. We're young and we're bad. Season's over almost before it started. Let's play golf.

Then the guys go out and win 8 in a row and though I'm not having any playoff fantasies, it is still fun to see them succeed. So I start watching and want so much to believe that they are for real. Then came the conclusion of last night's loss to Kansas City and I was suddenly livid.

Just in case you missed it - and I'm sure many people did - let me recap the last inning. Down 5-3, the Tribe scores a run and loads the bases with two outs. Cleanup hitter Carlos Santana comes to the plate. Can he get the key hit that could lead to yet another victory for the surprising Indians? Well the answer was no as it turned out, but the way it happened sent me into a snit.

Santana looked at the first pitch, a fastball for strike one. He then took a fastball for strike two. OK, just waiting for his pitch I guess. The third pitch was - drumroll please - a fastball right down the middle of the plate. Santana TOOK IT! As Ernie Harwell used to say while broadcasting Tiger games, "he just sat there like the house along the side of the road."

How can one do that? How do you take three straight fastballs without lifting the bat off your shoulder? I'm not the smartest baseball fan, but I'm pretty sure you can not get a hit if you don't swing the bat. And don't even suggest to me that he was looking for something else!

The view from my seat would suggest that if the pitcher threw anything OTHER than the baseball, I would have no problem with Santana taking those pitches. However it might be wise for Santana to recall what every little league coach has told his players that have two strikes on them. Choke up and guard the plate. Do that and I won't have to hate you - however short that hate might be.

P.S. I'm watching the Wahoos leading the Royals 6-2 in the seventh right now.

Love is in the air!


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