Monday, July 8, 2013

Carlos Gomez and the Joys of Rooting for a .409 Team

Nothing is better than rooting for a contending baseball team. Conversely, few things are as frustrating as rooting for a team on place for 96 losses. The high volume of games gives bad teams ample opportunity to do bad things. The 2013 Milwaukee Brewers are exhibits A-Q to this point. The Crew has 74 games left and they'll probably lose the majority of them, however, with Carlos Gomez playing center field each game holds the potential to involve something spectacular.

Never in my life have I seen a baseball game end like it did tonight. Joey Votto, representing the go-ahead run with two outs in the 9th, hit a ball 401 feet to center. With the terrifying Aroldis Chapman lurking in the bullpen, the game was effectively over. Except, of course, that Gomez made a perfectly timed jump and earned free dinner from K-Rod for the rest of the season. This amazing catch won the game for the Brewers and reminded us why baseball is such a rewarding sport it watch (or in this case, endure).

Sure, the Brewers may kick the ball around the diamond, make outs on the basepaths, and treat fans to 2.1 inning starts, but every now and then even the losers get transcendently awesome. With Carlos Gomez the Brewers have a guy that can make catches running uphill, score from first on sacrifice bunts, lose his helmet swinging for the fences, and earn a save without throwing a pitch. Following a bad team is mostly frustrating, but with a player like Gomez you're reminded about how baseball rewards those with the patience of Job. Ultimately it does not matter that the Brewers are now 16 games under .500 instead of 18. What does matter is for a brief moment the 25,341 in attendance were on top of the world. Even .409 teams are capable of giving fans their money's worth and then some...It's just they're more capable if they have Carlos Gomez playing center field.

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