I’ve never seen 10 fucking goals scored in a hockey game before. Well, once.
I was 10 years old and playing street hockey in a cul-de-sac. One of the older kids convinced me that his little brother was “really good as goalie” so I put him in net. If that kid was actually awake, his frightening lack of motor skills, instincts, and human reflexes must have gotten him crushed to death by now. I’ve never seen a netminder so routinely abused in my life. And combine that with the fact that we had to keep stop playing because it was Sunday morning and all the neighbors kept backing into our game on their way to church, and you have the most ludicrously unproductive sporting event in suburban history.
So, when you yank Bryzgalov after he gives up five goals so that your younger goalie can go out there and give up five more, it makes me wonder. Am I still in that cul-de-sac? Did I get brained by a slapshot and am I lying there, gurgling blood as kids gather around me, wide-eyed in terror? Have the last 15 years of my life been a figment of my fevered subconciousness as my head fills with skull fragments?
Was last night’s Flyers game merely the weakened call of reality, trying to pull me back to the world?
It was just an awful, awful thing that happened. Just pure crap. The Penguins put their skirts on last night, but not their dainty ballet skirts. They slipped on their classiest gowns and came out with the intent to not go quietly. And they did not. Avoiding a four game sweep in the first round of the playoffs, Pittsburgh overcame an early deficit–sounds familiar–and went on to score 10 goals in the hockey game of my life that was most akin to really explosive, messy, disgusting, wall-splattering diarrhea.
Should Lavy have pulled Bryz? Should the Flyers have scored more goals? Can we blame Bob? These are all questions we ask the next day, as if the answers will satiate our pain. They will not.
But a Phillies win sure could! After drowning themselves in alcohol and feelings, thousands of Philadelphia fans switched channels to watch the Phils game start at 10:15. Those pesky west coasters! Always starting their baseball games so late! Probably because they want to spend all day smoking that weed, right? Ha, ha! Ha! Stereotypes. Why can’t they just develop some nice, concrete alcoholism like the east coasters? At least we can still get things accomplished. Messy, incorrect, uncoordinated things.
Cliff Lee was pitching, and what better advocate for Philly sports love could there be? Taking on those quirky hipster San Francisco Giants, the series was even, after the Phillies offense couldn’t–surprise!–summon the energy to put a ball somewhere that a Giant wasn’t standing in Game 2. Starting off west coast swing by brutalizing Tim Lincecum was supposed to be a good sign.
And for 10 innings last night, it still was. That’s right. Cliff Lee threw 10 shutout innings, only the fourth pitcher in the last century to do so. One of the others is Roy Halladay. He did it twice.
Not to mention that Cliff never reached a three ball count all damn night. Or that he only threw 21 balls collectively. Out of 102 pitches.
Pitching coach Rich Dubee tried to stop Cliff from going out in the 10th. Cliff laughed him off. Rich tried again, more forcefully, in the 11th. He succeeded. And shockingly enough, that’s when the Phillies lost the game.
Not that Cliff could have done much more to secure a victory. But on the other side, Matt Cain was hurling daggers, too. Or the Phillies couldn’t summon any offense again. It’s hard to tell. Sometimes, we let a completely bullshit pitcher shut us down, so I don’t know if the name on the back of the jersey has as much to do with it as we say. But it was probably Cain. He’s very good.
The point is, the Giants squeaked in some small ball in the 11th and scored on a walkoff single. Oh, but wait! Ty Wigginton dropped a ground ball that Placido Polanco would have had if he were out there, which allowed the winning run to reach base. Oh, that Ty Wigginton. He is one below average person.
If Charlie Manuel had managed a bit more precisely, the Phils could have avoided what happened, as Bill Baer expertly explains here. Who knows what brilliant method they would have lost through then!
**Sits back, stares out window daydreaming about two Phillies outfielders colliding and exploding in a cloud of dust.**
So basically, what we had last night is the worst shit ever. Which balances out that night of Best Shit Ever from the other week. Take comfort, my friends, knowing that the universe is back where it should be. Until the next time a Philadelphia sports team wants to do something incredible/fucking awful. Or if you’re Cliff Lee and the Phillies, both simultaneously.