Vlad the Impaled

Many of us have been in Vladimir Guerrero’s cleats, so it should be a lot harder to ride the guy for the baserunning brainlock he suffered in Game 1 of the Angels-Red Sox playoff series. But …

OK, his was a potentially multimillion-dollar mistake and mine cost me probably a beer. Stay with me here.

Vlad’s on first. Bloop over first baseman’s head. Guerrero, channeling the freakishly fast Vlad of his youth, turns second and heads screaming (in his mind, anyway) for third base. The throw beats him there by a stinking mile, killing a potential rally. Ouch. Angles lose, 4-1.

Oh, and did we mention that the third base coach was hollering and waving to get Vlad to stop at second base?

“Vladdy being Vladdy,” teammate Torii Hunter was quoted as saying, which, to those of us who’ve followed the career of one Manny Ramirez, quickly translates to: “Geez, what a dope!”

True story: We’d made the playoffs after several seasons in the cellar. Single elimination. Your Softball Coach was the leadoff hitter — and an aggressive baserunner who hadn’t been thrown out at second, third or home all season. Heck, I’d stolen home on an appeal play when the pitcher lollypopped the throw to first base. I’d seen him do that in an earlier game against another team. Just like I’d seen our current opponent’s centerfielder lob throws back to the infield. So, fly ball to deep center, the Softball Coach tagging at first, knowing he can make it to second and determined that, if the CF makes a lazy throw, he’s taking third, too.

Softy being Softy. Out by a mile and three quarters.

The shortstop had a cannon for an arm — yeah, I’d seen that before, too (my bad) — that more than made up for the outfielder’s gaffe. Rally dead. On the bench, my teammates’ shoulders slumped. The game was far from over, but we were toast.

“Good try,” a teammate called to me, which translates to: “Geez, you’re an idiot.”

My recklessness on the basepaths had of course helped get us to the playoffs, but …

Tell it to Vlad. Or Bill Buckner, whose MVP-caliber year in 1986 went right through his legs. Or Mitch Williams, who served up a World Series-losing gopher ball to Joe Carter in 1983 after saving 43 games for Philly that year. Or Ryan Dempster, who lost his rhythm — or his mind — last night and walked the bases loaded with a 2-0 lead, then gave up a grand slam as Cubs fans collapsed. Dempster had been about unbeatable at Wrigley Field during the regular season.

What can you do but buy your own beer … and suck it up.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: