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WERE ONE PITCH AWAY
by Jonathan Rayne
03/30/14
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“WE’RE ONE PITCH AWAY”


One of America’s favorite pastimes is to debate what might be the greatest moment in sports history. I would suggest the magic of sports is that there will always be a tomorrow and, with it, the hope that its greatest moment will yet be witnessed … a thrill held hostage by the future.

While the greatest of anything is both subjective and arguable, I am confident the following will, indeed, be chronicled for all time as the greatest occurrence in sports history!

*****

(Radio ad concludes followed by station promo … “You’re listening to WCHC_1, Chicago … your home of Chicago Cubs baseball”).

(Crowd noise) … “… and welcome back to the Friendly Confines, ladies and gentlemen, as we go to the top of the ninth here at Eye-spy Technologies Stadium at Wrigley Center As Brought To You By The Taxpayers Of State And Local Government. Remember, at Eye-spy Technologies “Your secrets belong to us”… Hector Gonzalez, playing in his final major league game, is in at left field and Jace Braverman, the Cubs’ closer, is on the mound, and I don’t think we have to cross our fingers to say it, to close out this Game Seven of the 2114 World Series.”

“Considering the year he’s had, Cap, it’s only appropriate that Braverman is on the mound for the final outs of this World Series. Jace saved Games One and Two and rescued the Cubs from that bases loaded jam in yesterday’s ninth inning to get us to Game Seven.”

“Rogers to lead it off for the Yankees. Cubs lead 12-1, and are three outs from their first World Series championship in 206 years … well, we have a stiff breeze blowing in from right field … that’s happened all of a sudden … it’s making a cool night downright cold … you know, the Chinese consortium that owns this Cubbie franchise had demanded the city pay for a dome for the stadium … too bad Chicago had to go bankrupt … curve ball on the corner, called strike one … Kelly, this sellout crowd’s still buzzing over Bartman’s grand slammer in the bottom of the eighth.”

“Bartman’s the first player to hit two grand slams in a World Series game. You gotta think that somewhere out there his great-great granddaddy has a big smile on his face”

“… The fans greeted him with chants of “we love Bartman” as he took to the field to start the ninth inning … Braverman throws … and there’s a ground ball to second. Lopez up with it and over to Embree … that’s one away.”

“Rogers was looking for a slider … Braverman fooled ‘em with a curve ball down and away.”

“That brings up Jerlyndon Jones for the Yankees. Jones was called out on strikes in the top of the third to end the Yankees based loaded threat, when it was still a ball game at 4-1. It’s been all downhill for the Bronx Bombers after that ... here’s the pitch … checked his swing, called strike one … Jones hit two homers and had five RBIs in the Yankees Game Five victory that put them up in the Series, three games to two, and one win away from the Yankees’ fifty-sixth World Series championship … they’ll have to wait another year for that one … the pitch … outside, ball one ... one and one the count … Jones oh-for-three today …Well, Kelly, if there’s anybody sitting in their seats here I’d say it’s because they’re sitting in the restrooms for one reason or another.”

“ … the crowd noise is really deafening. The whole ballpark seems to be shaking. There’s over two hundred years of emotion in this city about to explode here.”

“… Line drive, foul, down the left field line … one ball, two strikes the count ... this wind is really picking up now … I swear I just heard some thunder … Braverman from the set … high fly ball to deep right, the wind’ll keep this one in the ballpark … Lewis is out there …he’s under it …TWO AWAY … (crowd noise intensifies) … and as the Yankees’ clean-up hitter and two time MVP, Willy Sianis, steps to the plate, this ball park has taken on a life of its own, folks, it’s transmogrified into a colossal, roaring beast breathing the fire of over two hundred years of heartache and failure … two hundred and five years of ‘next year’ … and ‘next year’ has finally arrived … I just saw a flash of lightning in the distance … the weather report didn’t call for rain, did it, Kelly?”

“… Transmogrified?”

“You liked that one, didn’t ya … Sianis was involved in quite a dust-up with Braverman in the ninth inning yesterday and had to be restrained from charging the mound after Jace’s inside fast ball caught him on the hip and loaded the bases for the Yankees. Things were looking bleak but Jace kept his cool and struck out the last two Yankees to seal the Cubs’ 4-2 win in Game Six … Braverman with the pitch … CALLED STRIKE ONE …”

“Cap, I can’t hear myself think … everybody’s standing, waving anything they can get their hands on.”

“Sianis is one-for-three and has the Yankees lone RBI, a two out single in the second.”

“Seems like a long time ago. Gave the Yankees a one to nothing lead … and then in the bottom of the second came the first Bartman Blast.”

“Braverman’s pitch is down in the dirt … ball one … one and-one the count … well, fans, don’t forget to stay tuned for the Cap ‘n Kelly post game report. We’ll have an extended World Championship edition with Willis Conlon reporting from the Cubs locker room and the WCHC Newsbeat 11 team will have updates from outside the stadium and around the city along with exclusive aerial views of the celebration brought to you by the Goodyear drone, which is circling the stadium as we speak ... I’m guessing that you won’t hear or see a post-game show quite like this one ever again … Pitch high and outside … two and one the count”

“You know, Cap, you have to feel for those folks who’ve passed away recently, all those years and now to miss this …”

“I would imagine, Kelly, there are some people in the Chicago area who may very well have passed away during this game.”

“… well, let’s hope they’re all White Sox fans.”

“The wind’s really whippin’ now … picking up dust from the infield … hot dog wrappers and debris flying everywhere …the wind has a sound to it I’ve never heard before and there’s still an occasional crack of lightning and rumble of thunder off in the distance … the wind’s turning a cold night into a frigid one … here’s the pitch … grounded foul down the first base line … two balls and two strikes the count … (crowd noise intensifies) … 12-1 the Cubs lead, two out in the top of the ninth of Game Seven of the World Series … Sianis steps out of the batter’s box … delaying the inevitable … he’s back in … here we go … Braverman with the sign … THE PITCH … JUST OUTSIDE , ball three, man-oh-man, how close can you get … the sigh you just heard from this sellout crowd might have been stronger than the wind … well, this city has waited over two hundred years, it can wait another minute … three and two the count … you know the Cubs must have really planned a celebration, Kelly … I swear I hear trumpets”

“I hear ‘em, too. Must be a band outside the stadium”

“Well, then, strike up the band … Sianis calls for time, it appears he has some dirt in his eye … I don’t think he wants this game to end … the wind seems to get stronger by the second, it’s really swirling now … I don’t think I’ve ever felt such raw emotion inside a stadium and this crowd is so loud I swear it feels like the whole world is shaking … the Cubs are one pitch away, folks … ONE … PITCH … AWAY … Braverman peers at the sign … he’s ready … here’s the … AARGH … MY GOODNESS, WHAT IS THAT LIGHT … THERE’S A BLINDING LIGHT THAT HAS ENGULFED THE ENTIRE BALLPARK … PEOPLE ARE SCREAMING …”

“OH NO … UP THERE, CAP … LOOK … it … it’s …”

“IT’S WHAT …?”

“IT’S JESUS … it’s His Second Coming … it’s the end of the world!” (Crowd groans and becomes silent though a smattering of boos are heard)

“THE END OF THE WORLD? … you must be crazy … I mean … we’re … we’re one pitch away … WE’RE ONE DAMN PITCH AWAY … (play-by-play announcer stands, shaking his fist at the sky) … I’VE BEEN DOING CUBS GAMES FOR THIRTY-SIX YEARS … THIRTY-SIX STINKIN’ YEARS … AND THEY SUCKED FOR THIRTY-FIVE OF ‘EM … AND IT’S 12-1, THE CUBS CAN’T EVEN BLOW THIS ONE … I even said a prayer to You this morning … how could You DO this to me … GO BACK … GO AWAY… AT LEAST GIVE US ONE MORE MINUTE, WILLYA … WE’RE ONE PITCH A-WAAAAY!”

*****

… And so it will be on the Day of Judgment, that woeful day when the souls of the lost will meet their eternal fate, the Archangel Gabriel will proclaim to the multitudes that the world had ended on a cool Autumn night when the Chicago Cubs, the most hopeful and hopeless of teams, were one pitch away from their first World Series championship in 206 years.

On every October 14th thereafter, those who reside in Heaven, and even Hell (for our darkest nightmares must surely return to the pit of their origin), will be given a moment of remembrance of the anniversary of the 1908 Chicago Cubs, the team of Tinkers and Evers and Chance, the most celebrated of double play combinations, though two of them spoke not a word to each other, and of the pitcher with the most colorful of nicknames, Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown, and his pitching sidekick, Orval Overall, winner of that long-ago Series clincher… the last Cubs team to win a World Series. Ever!


END



2114 World Series _ Game Seven Line Score

New York Yankees _ 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 * - 1
Chicago Cubs _ 0 4 0 0 2 2 0 4 - 12

*Game cancelled with two outs in the top of the ninth inning due to the end of the world.



_1. With apologies to WCHC 88.1 fm, College of the Holy Cross.











R


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