I spent my 4th of July in Oakland, watching the best American Major League baseball team (by record) take on the best non-American Major League baseball team (by default… although the Blue Jays are no slouches this year). In a sign of true patriotism, MLB teams were all wearing special stars and stripes hats. The big question on my mind was whether or not the Blue Jays would have such a hat, because it seemed possible that MLB might be that dumb, but no, the Toronto team just sported a large maple leaf on their red caps.
After a rousing tailgate, which included many delicious sliders and brisket and tabbouleh and guacamole and bundt cakes, we got to our seats just as the bottom of the 1st was starting. I flipped open my scorebook and… learned that I am out of pages to keep score in. I vaguely remember noting this in Detroit a few weeks ago, but hadn’t bought a replacement scorebook in the meantime. So, this recap comes entirely from memory and not from notes.
Luckily, there wasn’t a lot to remember… for a long time, no body scored. The A’s turned a number of double plays to keep the Blue Jays from crossing home and Nick Punto appeared in the A’s line-up every nine at-bats to squash any rally the A’s might have had. In the 10th inning, a member of our group who was bemoaning the fact that he was being “forced” to stay past the 6th inning in a game that wouldn’t end pointed out that Little Nicky Punto had just earned himself a sort of anti-cycle: getting out in four different ways with a strikeout, outfield fly out, infield pop out, and a ground out. This gave me a chance to fill everyone in on the near mythical status of Nick Punto amongst Twins fans.
When Punto came up again in the 12th, with Derek Norris on 1st, my friend cried, “Oh, great, this guy! What new and exciting way will he find to get out this time?!” But Punto, always one to disappoint you when you least expect it and always, always getting after it, dropped a weird little blooper into left that Melky Cabrera couldn’t handle. In fact, not only couldn’t he catch it, but it seemed some weird magic Punto spell had been cast on it and he couldn’t even pick it up and throw it into the infield. Norris scored, the A’s won, and just as he was approaching third, Punto attempted to tear open his jersey superman style… and failed.
Classic Nick Punto.