WEST COAST TIME ZONE –Hi folks, my Monday colleague, DJ Eberle, was sent by MTM Management to cover the Bills game, but the bludgeoning they took from the Patriots has sent him on a bender across the border that ended with him enlisted in the Royal Mounties Navy. Who knew there was such a thing, but he’s currently on a saddled narwhal patrolling the polar ice caps for seal poachers, so he won’t be able to file his report until next week.
That means I’m filling in on a Monday – when it’s my turn to take the kids to school in the morning – so I’ll just focus on two minutes from last night’s action; 7:30 my time, 10:30 for you east-coasters.
In the span of those two minutes, two grown men would heave manly sobs, as they were helped off the stage and through the dark arena tunnels. Just west of the Mississippi River, Yadier Molina – the best of the fabled catching family and every bit the Unofficial Captain of this Cardinals team, stepped up in the sixth with the go-ahead runner on first and nobody out. He swung feebly at a fastball and rolled it over to second for an easy double play, made even easier because he wasn’t running up the line. Molina was eventually found by the cameras, still in the box and bent over with his hands on his knees, grimacing in that way that looked 10% familiar, excruciating pain; and 90% the familiar, excruciating pain of knowing your gamble of playing through a strained oblique has backfired and your post season could be over. Too bad, because it was shaping up as a good one, and that was sheer, recognizable anguish on his face and it was hard not to feel bad for the guy (unless you’re a Met fan, of course).
At that moment, 922 miles to the east, the Football Giants were down twenty but still trying to make a competitive game of it with the Eagles (who at times looked like a Pop Warner team with their players’ heads all turned to the sidelines to see what play coach is calling). Throwing short on third of the goal line on third down, forced to go for it on fourth, Victor Cruz – who was just starting to be Victor Cruz again this year – came open and cut to the back corner of the end zone where the ball bounced oddly off his hands. His hands reached blindly and almost made the catch by pure phantom instinct, since the brain was shut down by an EMP of pain blasting out from the knee. His face buried in his hands, quaking, Cruz was carted off the field as awkward teammates tried to offer comforting taps on his shoulder. Cruz likely couldn’t feel a thing beneath his shoulder pads but the bitter disappointment of a lost season and now iffy career. Nobody can take any joy in that (oh yeah, it is Philadelphia).
With Molina out, the Cardinals gave up two runs on two separate passed balls, and needed some fortunate home runs to earn a split of their home games.
Once Cruz went down, the Giants gave up a 97-yard drive to salt away their loss before the fourth quarter even started. Tough night for both, and I haven’t even mentioned the New York Jetropolitans again (did I just coin that?)
Tune in tomorrow for a man who plays through heart surgeries, Walter” Grinding Ax” Hynes.