Monday, September 26, 2016

Three losses

Sunday was a rough day for baseball, with three distinct losses felt in this corner of fandom.

The biggest loss, and the most surprising, was the death of Jose Fernandez, the brilliant young pitcher of the Miami Marlins, in a boating accident off Miami Beach.

I keep in my head a list of the great pitchers I've seen work in person. I'll never get to add Fernandez to that list. Obviously that's among the lesser aspects of this tragedy. He leaves behind, among other survivors, an as-yet-unborn daughter (he apparently announced his girlfriend's pregnancy just last week on social media),

Another loss was completely expected: Vin Scully called his final home game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. My experience with Scully's work is largely limited to his years of national work on baseball and football games, mostly in the 1970s and '80s. But I have long admired the transcription of his call of the ninth inning of Sandy Koufax's perfect game. Scully broadcast in complete sentences and paragraphs, and that ninth inning, obviously done without a script, reads like it had been crafted with multiple drafts.

The third loss matters mainly to Twins fans. Sunday marked the 100th loss of this far-below-expectations season for the Minnesota crew. The home portion of the Twins schedule is mercifully over, and the odds are quite strong that when the week and the season ends the record will be a new low for the Minnesota portion of the franchise's long if bedraggled history. (The Washington Senators twice lost at least 110 games in the early years of the American League.)

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