In the last few years, we've all been spoiled. Championships, comebacks, a no-hitter, a perfect game, Cy Youngs, and an MVP. And that all came after we got to watch Barry Bonds. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.
I'm not sure I've seen anything as awesome as a walk-off inside-the-park home run, though. I think if we send a bouquet of these to Alfonso Marquez, it would be a good compromise between "thanks for doing us a solid after all, blue" and "you are the worst and I hope these make you vomit."
1. Crawford walks after Rafael Betancourt throws two pitches close to the middle of the plate, which is rarer than an inside-the-park home run
2. Pagan pulverizes a ball that would be out in 29 other ballparks
3. The carom gets by Michael Cuddyer, who plays right field as if life is one giant sack race.
4. It really gets by Cuddyer, and you start thinking, wait …
5. Duane Kuiper says "Pagan is beeeeeing waaaaved in" as the camera cuts from Fowler throwing the ball to the cutoff man to Pagan just reaching third.
6. The entire television audience says, "OH GOOD GOD", or something just a wee bit stronger. If Mephistopheles paused the DVR at that second, I would have thought about his offer to guarantee Pagan making it safely. Because Pagan was going to be out by six feet.
7. Either Troy Tulowitzki or D.J. LeMahieu made the cutoff throw, and I want to see a replay because the one who made it spit the ball out of his mouth like Snoopy. The sun was probably in his eyes, too, as a food dish on the head isn't a good way to keep the sun out.
8. Pagan scores and gets punched, possibly for popping up with a runner on third and one out earlier in the game.
That was glorious. Absolutely glorious. Here's a history of walk-off inside-the-park home runs since 1945 (which is as far back as Play Index goes … probably something the Germans did …)
Notice the Lefferts one. That was in the 12th inning after the Giants scored two runs in the top half to break up a scoreless game. There were two outs. The box-score description has it as a line drive down the short LF line, so it wasn't exactly a 410-foot bomb into a canyon. That had to have been the most frustrating game of the '89 season. Other than, you know, the stuff at the end.
The Giants gave up another one in 2000. From Jeff Kent via Henry Schulman:
"I don't think we'll ever see that happen again," said second baseman Jeff Kent, echoing words that 1989 second baseman Robby Thompson probably uttered at the time. "Only three or four of those happen in a year and we happen to lose on one. It sucks."
So this one was for '89 and '00 … which happened to be pretty good seasons, actually. Albeit with disappointment at the end, but almost every season has that.
And when it comes to memorable moments in a ballpark that has seen records fall and pennants won, this one ranks up there.
You should probably hold Pagan there, right? One out, an extreme contact guy coming up, the game already tied ... it takes a special kind of crazy to send him on that. Glad it wasn't me coaching third base.
Let's not forget that Andres Torres tied the game in the first place, which makes this game an automatic entry to this well-curated corner of the site.
I'm still proud of Torres for not being jealous of Pagan. The career-minor-leaguer-from-Puerto-Rico-who-wins-a-championship thing was Torres's, dang it. And to be the one going the other way in the trade? Kind of insulting. Then Pagan's the one who gets a multi-year deal. A sensitive fellow could take that the wrong way.
But that's why Andres Torres is the best human being in the history of the world, and I'm not. He's a fifth outfielder now (or should be), so that means we'll have to play these moments up when they happen.
The game started as a miserable one. The Giants were down early again, and while it was cute that they've had all these late-inning comebacks and walk-off wins, eventually those are going to dry up, and it won't be so cute.
Lemme check ... nope, nope, still cute. For now. The funny thing about a team that gives up a lot of runs and scores a lot of runs: They tend to come back a little more.
Uh, this was the best baseball game in the last few months, so it seems silly to nitpick, but here goes: Marco Scutaro bunting in the first inning was ridiculous, and Ron Wotus sending up Guillermo Quiroz (the backup catcher and the last guy on the bench) to bunt, when just about every pitcher was available off the bench, was ludicrous.
But Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-walk-off-park home run or something.
Oh, and Scutaro deciding to go to third on Pablo's single in the eighth. I get that he was really safe, but that blown call didn't bother me as much because, c'mon, Scoots. That was the universe getting the call right from an aesthetic standpoint.
The Belt call was pretty inexcusable, though. Like it matters now.
Good gravy, what just happened? The last thing I saw was Tulowitzki pointing in the Rockies' dugout like the jackaninny that he is, and the next thing I know, I wake up in a flaming altar behind the Hall of Fame as I'm being breast fed by Christy Mathewson. At least, that's what it felt like.