(WTNH)–In an era when the casual sports fan plays fantasy football, gathers around the TV during Thursday Night Football, and pretends that Football Sunday ™ is the greatest sports day of the year, it’s hard not to notice when something else captures the nation’s imagination.
On Wednesday, thanks to Russell Martin, Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, and Jose Bautista, baseball was once again the only thing anybody was talking about. And it was awesome.
It felt a little bit like…I don’t know…1993, when the SkyDome in Toronto was rocking and people across the continent were hanging on every pitch of the playoffs.
Baseball in Connecticut–in America–hasn’t been quite the same since the Red Sox beat the Yankees in 2004, ending the “Curse of the Bambino” and permanently shutting up Yankees fans who loved to sing-songingly chant “1918” and shout “Who’s Your Daddy?”
That was the most impactful baseball moment I’ve seen in my lifetime.
Since then, diminished offense and the disintegration of the average person’s attention span have led to baseball’s decline. The playoffs moved from ESPN and FOX to FS1 and TBS, with FOX and Joe Buck parachuting in for the LCS or World Series, depending on who the Dallas Cowboys were playing that week.
It also didn’t help that the freaking Cardinals and freaking Giants kept winning all the freaking pennants, keeping stars like Clayton Kershaw, Bryce Harper, and Andrew McCutchen out of the sport’s biggest stage. The Cards and Giants had random guys like Joe Panik, Travis Ishikawa, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong winning NLCS MVP’s.
No wonder people’s eyes began glazing over like they were watching India-Pakistan in cricket.
But with one interference of the bat and then one swing of the bat, everything changed.
Russell Martin hit Shin-Soo Choo’s bat, Rougned Odor came racing home, and all of a sudden, we had the biggest baseball controversy since Will Middlebrooks’ obstruction of Allen Craig in 2013.
But just when it looked like we were going to have another tedious and unfortunate debate about a little-known rule, the baseball gods decided the Blue Jays deserved better.
Elvis Andrus dropped the ball three times, Odor misplayed what should have been a relatively routine blooper, and Jose Bautista launched a bullet into the left field stands.
Next to the 2011 World Series, when the freaking Cardinals came back from the brink of elimination twice to win Game 6 and then Game 7, Wednesday’s Blue Jays-Rangers game was the best baseball moment we’ve seen in years.
Even if baseball isn’t back for every average, Bud Light-drinking, Pick ‘Em League-playing American, it’s proven it can produce moments far more impactful than Week 6 of the NFL season.
Like my roommate RJ once said during a wiffle ball game in our kitchen, “This game is awesome!”
Yeah, dude. Of course it’s awesome. It’s baseball.
Welcome back, casual fans.