Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Game 113: Knuckleball as Metaphor for a Game

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 4, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 10

Tim Wakefield stands and glares in at the plate with that straight-backed look he gets before he throws a pitch, the one where he looks like he's contemplating something. His windup looks almost old fashioned, like the movies you see of pitchers throwing to a young Babe Ruth. His pitch of choice is as old as the hills, too and rarely practiced in this modern day, but it leaves his hand all the same and meanders towards the plate with just a little spin and a whole lot of spring in its step. To see it curve in two directions is not uncommon, to see it baffle batters trying to get a bead on its speed and direction is the expected result. The knuckleball thrives on frustration through shifting momentum.

The courses of last night's game were that shifting frustration mutated into contest; the dance of knuckleball echoed back in the score column. The Sox scored first, the Angels recovered for two over three innings. Boston started to drive a stake into Angels' starter Saunders in the fifth, as The Stud Who Hits Bombs went deep on a no-doubter and Youkilis drove in Pedroia with a double, but the winds shifted again, putting the Angels back on top, driving Wakefield from the game for his second-worst start of the year and his worst since June 1 and turning another potential victory into a total loss. Damn you, winds of fate. Damn you straight to hell.

I'll admit it: I'm dispirited. It's hard to make with the happy face when you're mired in a heat wave where the air is so thick you can taste it, while your team is playing to lose on late night and their rival is gaining ground. However, this trip may truly be the test that tries men's souls and in that test, despair is found only those who are wanting. I have faith: I want that AL East crown so bad I can taste it. This team is too good for anything else to happen.