Writing > Walloped
August 17, 2011: Walloped
Diablos Rojos del México 6 Sultanes de Monterrey 17
7:00pm Wednesday August 16, 2011
The game. Game six of the Zona Norte Championship Series. Diablos leading 3-2. Foro Sol was busy last night. Sixteen-odd thousand doesn't sound like much by MLB standards, but by Diablos standards, that's huge. An hour before first pitch the place was as full as it would normally be by the third inning of a regular game (Mexico City seems to have an Anaheim-ness about it when it comes to arriving on time). They even played "Centerfield" over the PA before the game. Perhaps people here do like baseball after all.
Before the game started, the players lined up along the first and third base lines while the screen showed a photo of Leo Rodriguez, a former Diablos player who died recently. Unlike in Europe, the States, or Canada, there was no one-minute's-silence; instead, a minute of applause. That, to me, in this context, seems like a really nice way of appreciating someone.
Seventeen-six. Not often you see playoff games with a score like that. Monterrey got 22 hits. It was awful. Right from the off, when Chris Roberson hit a lead-off home run. Single, double, strikeout, strikeout, walk, wild pitch, single. Monterrey 5-0 up. Nerio Rodriguez yanked after 0.2 innings. Salvador Robles comes in. and catches a Sultanes catcher Adan Amezcua stealing. Bottom of the first, three up, three down.
Robles got through the second inning with relative ease (fly ball, two K's), and when Mario Valenzuela got one back with a lead-off home run for the Diablos, things seemed to be getting interesting again. Sadly not: the Sultanes put up six runs in the third, and another in the fourth. 12-1. By the middle of the seventh, it was 17-1. The Diablos rallied a little in the eighth, putting up four runs with one out. But that was as good as it got.
Along the way, the benches cleared three times. No punches thrown despite the crowds encouragement. Game seven tonight, so we'll see if there's any lingering unresolved issues. Something of not from early on in the game was how Agustin Murillo argued with the ump about striking out. He pointed his finger in the ump's face twice. And didn't get thrown out of the game. That shit don't fly in the majors, eh?
So, game seven. Tonight. And, well, for a fairly-new-to-baseball chap like me, it's exciting. This is the first time I will have seen a baseball game that is do or die. I've thought of nothing else since waking up this morning. I want to see my new local team win. And, selfishly, I want to see more baseball. If the Diablos lose tonight, there will be no more live baseball for me this season. If they win, there's at least two more games in the finals next week against either Quintana Roo or Veracruz. Their series currently stands at 3-2.