So today I was at home, sitting on my couch, iced tea in hand, watching the Indians game on TV. The game had just begun, but already the loudmouth Blue Jays fan who seems to run his mouth at every home game was in full voice. I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore him when suddenly I heard another voice, a different voice, jarring but somehow familiar.
“Yo, Vern. Listen up. I’m one of the Baseball Gods.”
“You heard me. I’m one of the Baseball Gods. You and your Indians seem like you could use a break, and I’m here to give you one. I’m going to grant you three wishes about today’s game.”
“You sound familiar. Are you . . . are you Vin Scully?”
“No, but I like his voice, so I’m using it as my own.”
“Fair enough. I’d probably do the same thing if I had your job. So let me get this straight: I can ask for three wishes about today’s game and they’ll be granted?”
On the TV, I could see Shin-Shoo Choo swing and miss for the first out of the game. Loudmouth Jays Fan was loving it.
“Okay, great. Our pitching yesterday was terrible. Could you see to it that Derek Lowe pitches a shutout today?”
“I said within reason. Lowe threw a shutout in May. Not even the Baseball Gods could make him throw two in one season. Tell you what, I can’t promise you a shutout, but he’ll give your team a quality start today. He’ll go six innings, allow no more than three earned runs. That’s your first wish.”
“I can live with that. But we’ll need our bullpen to come through today, then. Could . . . could we get some scoreless innings from the pen?”
“Sure. Joe Smith will pitch the rest of the game. He’ll give up a couple of hits, but no Blue Jays runner will get as far as third base. That’s your second wish.”
I liked this business of being granted wishes by one of the Baseball Gods.
“Excellent. And now let’s see . . . damn, that loudmouth Jays fan is really starting to get to me! I wish he wasn’t so loud!”
“You got it.”
“And for my third wish, I’d like—”
“Whoa, hold up there, guy. You just made your third wish. You asked for that fan to be less loud.”
“No, no, I didn’t want that to be my last wish! I was going to wish that the offense would score a ton of runs!”
“Listen, pal. I heard what I heard. The deal was three wishes. Enjoy the game! I gotta go. There’s a Dodgers fan I gotta have a little conversation with. After the way they lost last night, they could use a break too.”
Well, you know the rest of the story. Instead of scoring a lot of runs, the Indians scored no runs whatsoever, and the Blue Jays won the game, 3-0. This was the third time the Indians were shut out this season. The Tribe only got five hits, including two doubles by the hot Michael Brantley, but they couldn’t get a rally going at all.
The Indians lost the three-game series to the Jays, two games to one. What’s worse, the Chicago White Sox won today, so the Indians have fallen to four games behind the Sox in the AL Central, and the Tigers won their game, climbing over the Indians for second place in the division. The last time the Tribe was in third place in the AL Central was April 22, the fourteenth game of the season.
Obviously there’s a lot of baseball yet to be played this summer, but the Indians had better start playing with more consistency, and with more offensive power, if they hope to win the division. Either that, or they’re going to need more than a little help from the Baseball Gods.
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