Monday night, I was sitting around watching television, and I decided to change channels over to the Astros game. Don't ask me why; I don't even know if I have an answer.
At this point, with the team on pace for even fewer wins than last season's 56-106 debacle, I think I check on them now the same way you'd check on an aunt or uncle who is gravely ill.
"So how are they doing?...Wow, that's terrible news....Well, soon they'll be in a better place....Give them my best, okay?
So I check in on them. Because I (kind of) care.
Unfortunately, the Astros are the one team in Major League Baseball whose broadcast should come with a warning label affixed to the bottom portion of the screen. Something along the lines of "WARNING: Watching this team try and execute a fundamental Little League fielding play may be hazardous to your health."
Monday night, the Astros managed to claw their way back into a game with the Washington Nationals, scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings tied at four. In the top of the eleventh inning, center fielder Roger Bernadina led off the inning with a single. At that point...well, wait....actually, it's better if you read this description with the theme music from Benny Hill playing while you read. (Normally, I'd just embed video, but if this play made it to YouTube, then it's already been snuffed out by Major League Baseball's YouTube gestapo.)
Here's your Benny Hill music...
Press PLAY. And here we go....
It started innocently enough, with Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki squaring to bunt, and laying one down, presumably to merely move Bernadina over to second base to put him in scoring position for the next couple of Washington batters.
Well, Suzuki got that and a whole lot more.
Astros pitcher Wilton Lopez left the mound to field the bunt, which was slightly to the first-base side of the mound. That's why first baseman Steve Pearce, who may or may not have won a contest to play first base that night (I have no idea who the fuck he is), also converged on the bunt. (There's still no explanation why third baseman Matt Downs was running in on the play from third base, but this did make the Astros the first team that I can remember having both corner infielders and their pitcher try and field the same bunt.)
So hellbent to get to the bunt was Pearce that he linebacker-trucked Lopez to get to the ball. Undaunted by a fully grown adult male bouncing off of him, Pearce retrieved the ball and managed to uncork a throw to first base, which was somewhat of a feat considering Downs was flying over the top of him like he was trying to block a punt. There was only one problem with Pearce's throw. It sucked. It sucked so bad it skipped past second baseman Jose Altuve (who was covering first base) and rolled into the right field corner. Meanwhile, Bernadina was circling the bases and encountered a "STOP" sign at third base from his third base coach.
Realizing that these are the Astros and it's a lock they will fuck up the play at the plate, Bernadina ran right through the stop sign and headed home. Predictably, Brian Bogusevic, doing his best Rex Grossman "look how goddamn strong my arm is, mother fucker!" impersonation, sailed the ball ten feet over catcher Chris Snyder's head and Bernadina scored easily.
That gave the Natties a 5-4 lead which they would hold onto in the bottom of the eleventh for the win.
So go ahead and add "allowing a runner to score from first on an attempted sacrifice bunt" to the new and unusual ways the Astros have mutilated themselves in 2012.
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And while you're here, go ahead and post a caption to this picture of Pearce, Downs, Lopez and the errant throw heard around the world. Or, heard around the block. Or, heard around the stadium by the 3,000 people still in the stands for the end of that game.
And how about this? Winner of the best caption gets a pair of tickets to the 1560 The Game five-year anniversary party at Saint Arnold Brewery on August 22! At least let's have some good come out of Monday night's fiasco.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.