So freaking angry:
With Brendan Harris on third and no one out (Harris had doubled and taken third on a wild pitch) Sean Camp makes Delmon Young, Joe Crede, and Nick Punto look silly, striking out all three of them. Seriously, you can't put one freaking ball in play? With a two-run lead, the infield is playing back. Just tap the freaking ball somewhere. That run has to score! What the hell is wrong with you? Just stop. Stop playing baseball. Turn in your damn uniforms. Pick up your last paycheck on the way out the door. The Common Man doesn't blame Punto quite as much (though that third strike you took was right down the middle); after Young and Crede's utter failure, his options were extremely limited. But not a single one of you can even PUT THE BAT ON THE GODDAM BALL? WHAT FREAKING GOOD ARE YOU? You are not helping. Just go home.
And while you're at it, take Ron Gardenhire and his baffling pitcher usage with you. Kevin Slowey, as astute reader Bill pointed out in an email tonight, had given up 11 hits through 5 innings. It was clear he didn't have it this time around. Yet Gardy brought him out to start the 6th. A single, an Overbay homer, a groundout, and a walk later, Slowey gave way to Matt Guerrier, clinging to a two run lead. Meanwhile, the Twins maddening use and non-use of Joe Nathan continues. After 8 games, Nathan has gotten into just two games, only one of which was a save situation and the other designed to just get him some work. Meanwhile, Gardy refuses to use his ace reliever to keep the game close or to hold onto a slim lead in the 8th. And tonight it came back to bite him, as Luis Ayala delivered yet another in a ridiculously poor string of performances. Nathan was relegated to the bench as Ayala surrendered a double to Rod Barajas and a homer to Travis Snider, giving the Jays the two-run lead they would never surrender. At this point, the fact that Gardenhire keeps running Ayala out day after day after day (Ayala's gotten into 5 of the 8 game thusfar) seems to indicate that the Twins' manager wants to punish Twins fans for something. Ayala's gone 5 innings, giving up 10 hits and four runs. He's pitched poorly in three of the five games, only showing any kind of effectiveness in games where the Twins are way behind. As the shiny new veteran toy, perhaps Gardenhire and GM Bill Smith couldn't help but give Ayala the job of trying to ruin the Twins season, like so many dead-weight veterans before him.
And The Common Man is still angry and sad about the death of pitcher Nick Adenhart. The Common Man has nothing really to add to the chorus of laments for young talent lost. Adenhart was a promising young pitcher, and had a long and hopefully productive life ahead of him when he and his friends were killed by a drunk driver. In trying to make sense of the senseless, The Common Man can't help but feel that Adenhart is a reminder of our own mortality, that no matter how high we climb, nothing is guaranteed, that nothing has been promised to us, and that what we say and do always matter because they may be the last things we say or do.
And speaking of sudden and shocking ends, the twin deaths of Phillies broadcasting legend Harry Kalas and '70s pitching phenom and icon Mark Fidrych came out of nowhere today to sadden the baseball community further. Two great characters who were responsible for creating thousands of fans today passed away in manners most befitting the way in which they lived. Kalas collapsed in his broadcast booth today, preparing for the Phillies/Nationals game. Counting post-season games, this would have been somewhere around the 6900th game of Kalas' major league broadcasting career. Since, for so many, that's where Kalas lived, it's both sad and satisfying that he went to rest there. As perfectly serene and calm as Kalas' end seems, Fidrych's death was just as odd and quirky, but no less appropriate. Like The Bird himself, who stomped around the mound, talked to baseballs, and entertained fans with his wild hair and endless tics, Fidrych's end was quick and, frankly, crazy. While the death itself was undoubtedly horrible (and The Common Man prays it was quick), perhaps there was no other way for a man of The Bird's eccentricities to go out than "crushed by a dump truck." If nothing else, it adds to the legend. And their sad ends remind us of why we loved them so much in the first place. God bless boys.