Big League Stew - MLB

Dear Torii Hunter and Howie Kendrick:

Look, I know you probably don't want to talk about it and that you probably want to "put it behind you", but as a member of the baseball watching public, I'd just like to extend this note as a formal thank you for that genius bit of orchestrated foolishness in the second inning of Sunday night's ALDS Game 3 at Fenway Park.

I really don't like sleeping anyway.

See, were it not for your communication breakdown on a seemingly harmless two-out pop fly by Jacoby Ellsbury, then Coco Crisp, Jason Varitek and Jed Lowrie wouldn't have been able to cash in three of the best gift runs ever given to the Red Sox.

(Well, at least gift runs from someone not wearing a Baltimore Orioles jersey.)

And were it not for those three runs scoring when neither of you made an attempt to interfere with the baseball hitting the ground, your 5-4 series-extending victory over Boston never would have gone 12 innings and it never would have lasted 5 hours and 19 minutes.

I mean, who doesn't like to listen Chip Caray continually raise his voice after mistakenly judging routine flies for a home run blasts for that long? That right there is a blessing. I'd listen for days.  

However, I'm far from the only one thankful for your snafu, which is now thankfully irrelevant because  your 11-game playoff losing streak to Boston is history.

Your catcher, Mike Napoli, is thankful because he was put in the position of bailing you out from the 3-1 lead you handed Boston. Napoli homered not only once, but twice over the Green Monster. He also scored the winning run on Erick Aybar's RBI single and finally got a little face time with a part of the nation that's usually fast asleep when he's playing. He's appreciative for that and maybe he'll now get a little more attention from those East Coast ladies.

Your manager Mike Scioscia is happy that you gave your teammates a chance to prove that he wasn't joking around when he said the Angels weren't getting eliminated in Game 3. He knew your team is  a resilient bunch and, wow, did they sure show that. The Cubs say they would've melted in the same spot, though they appreciate the effort to make everyone forget that second inning of Game 2.

Finally, your fanbase is grateful, because it's hoping you can salvage your AL-best regular season with a win in Monday night's Game 4 and then bring it back to Anaheim for Game 5. Both of you unwittingly helped those odds by allowing the Red Sox to think they were actually in the game. As such, they used almost every important member of their bullpen, including Jonathan Papelbon for a full two innings. Considering everyone has to come back to Fenway after a round of crullers at Dunkin' on Monday morning, that can't possibly be a good thing for the Red Sox, can it now?

So while your stomach probably sunk faster than that baseball back in the second inning, be rewarded in the fact that  it actually turned out better than it ever could have. In fact, should anyone ask you about the incident over the next few days, I think it'd be perfectly reasonable and acceptable to say, "Exactly how we planned it."  Great job, fellas.

No, really ... great job.



PS — Not everyone was happy. Starter Joe Saunders wants to know how you're going to make up for sticking him with those three earned runs.

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