Rockies NLDS Diary (Part Three): Colorado Loses to a First Base Umpire

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Rockies NLDS Diary (Part Three): Colorado Loses to a First Base Umpire
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/ Getty Images)

 

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With the NLDS tied a game apiece between the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies, the series takes a turn to Denver, where Saturday's game was cancelled due to frigid temperatures and snow flurries.

 

Jason Hammel faces off against J.A. Happ in this one, a game the Rockies all but need to win facing the nearly unhittable Cliff Lee in Monday’s matchup.

 

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7:04pm—I’m settling in at a new bar. I’m at Sundown Pub this time, sitting in a makeshift living room, complete with lamps, recliners, flickering candles and a fireplace. We’re in the back of the bar and I didn’t even have to sneak in with my bat. I carried it in, proud as can be. I’m warm and happy.

 

7:06pm—It’s 31 degrees in Denver right now with snow on the way. That’s just way too cool. This game has all the potential in the world to make serious history. I’m completely ready.

 

7:13pm—Top 1st—ifChase Utley just launched a ball into the bullpen. He really hit the chocolate out of that one.

 

Okay, Chase. I see how it’s going to be. Let’s play hardball. I’m ready. Tulo’s ready. Let’s do it.

 

7:17pm—Middle 1st—The bartender is making jokes about me having a bat. He’s not messing with me tonight, not even a little. I also met the owner and I had to convince her that I wasn’t dangerous. I passed the test. I’m allowed to keep El Chivo, Playoff Bat.

 

7:26pm —Bottom 1st —Helton just knocked in a run with a ball that didn’t make it out of the infield. He’s standing on 1st base and my girlfriend said that he looks like he has mental problems, grimacing as if he’s got a spackling of bird poop underneath his nose. I never noticed it before. What a keen observation.

 

7:40pm—Top 2nd—The Rockies lead 2—1. This is going to be a shootout. Both of these pitchers are visibly terrified. The Rockies might score 30 runs in this game.

 

7:54pm —End 2nd —With Clint Barmes swinging away on his first pitch and Dexter Fowler striking out on a pitch in the dirt, it is pretty clear some of these guys need to focus a little better, relax their bodies and do what’s in their hearts.

 

8:01pm – Middle 3rd – Jason Hammel is overachieving right now. Those five strikeouts in the first three innings look really impressive right now. The kid is locked in and looking very different from J.A. Happ, who’s peppering the dirt with 92mph fastballs.

 

8:06pm – Bottom 3rd – After walking Todd Helton to open the inning, J.A. Happ looks to be preparing himself to throw 200 pitches in this game. Really though, I think it’s just his way of saying, “Pedro probably should have started this game.”

 

8:09pm – Bottom 3rd – Yorvit Torrealba is swinging with his eyes closed. I swear he’s walking up to the plate thinking he’s Casey at the Bat.

 

Someone needs to sit him down and let him know that home runs are hard to hit and in all likelihood it’s staying in the park for him tonight.

 

8:12pm – Bottom 3rd – 3—1 lead for the Rockies on the Garret Atkins double. It’s quite a sight to see Todd Helton run the bases like that. Chug a chug chug, Todd. Chug on home.

 

8:21pm – Top 4th – Three straight singles and the Phillies are back in the game with a vengeance. Hammel has lost it completely. Here’s Jason Werth at the plate. Danger lurks.

 

8:25pm – Top 4th – Werth walks. Bases are loaded. There are no outs. If Hammel gives up a hit here, the Phillies can win the game before the Rockies come up to bat again. Woah.

 

8:31pm – Top 4th – Hammel just walked in a run. I’m not a lip reader or anything, but I’m almost positive he just told Yorvit that he doesn’t want to pitch anymore, that he just wants to go home.

 

Yorvit responded very simply. “I know, bud. I don’t want you to be out here any more either.”

 

8:36pm – Top 4th – Jim Tracy needs to listen to his pitcher more. That single from Ruiz puts the Phillies in the lead 4—3. Hammel is bidding “au revoir” to this baseball game.

 

Get out of here, Big Guy. Please don’t take this out on yourself. You’re going to get enough heat from all the Rockies fans out there.

 

8:46pm – Bottom 4th – Jim Tracy, you are going to rue the day you let your reliever hit in this inning. Matt Belisle should have only pitched to one batter in this game. This is a bad, bad move.

 

8:47pm – Bottom 4th – Tie game! Carlos Gonzalez just knocked a ball into orbit. This guy is a maker of magic. He deserves a raise.

 

8:49pm – End 4th – The bartender just delivered three Bailey’s Hot Chocolates to our party. It has been a long time since I’ve tasted anything so delicious. The Rockies are winning this game. It’s been decided.

 

9:11pm – Top 6th – Welcome to the ballgame, Jose Contreras. Jim Tracy must be really confident in his offense these last four innings. Contreras has that familiar look in his eye. He’s looking at me and saying, “I’m about to break your heart. I’m going to do everything I can to make this a comeback winner.”

 

9:20pm – Top 6th – The Phillies lead again. The score is 5—4 on a Carlos Ruiz single. It’s a really hard fact to stomach that your team is trying to lose the game by putting guys like Contreras on the mound. I don’t get it.

 

9:22pm – Top 6th – Someone just got the jukebox rocking so loud I can’t hear the commentary on the TV anymore. God doesn’t want me to watch; he knows this is too painful for me.

 

What God forgot was that listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd dialed up to eleven is pretty ridiculously painful too. It’s a push at this point.

 

9:30pm – Top 6th – Kid Rock is belting out “Cowboy” right now. I’ll be honest. I really didn’t think we were going to be able to beat “That Smell” but I have just been proven dead wrong. Dead.Wrong.

 

9:45pm – Top 7th – I just realized how brilliant the Phillies have been in this series. By pitching only left handed starters, they have severely limited the Rockies ability to put the team’s best nine on the field.

 

Without Hawpe and Stewart, this lineup is very clearly not the same. Sometimes you have to tip your hat. Well done, Phils.

 

9:50pm – Bottom 7th – A dark haze has enveloped the field. Carlos Gonzalez looks just that much more dangerous in this light. He looks like a rock star coming onto the stage for his encore: confident, collected and ready to unleash hell.

 

And that’s a double into the gap! This guy is going to win the game by himself.

 

10:05pm – Bottom 7th – It’s Joker Time! Todd Helton is going to blow off parts of his body with swings like that. Torque levels are maxed out right now.

 

Swinging strikeout from Helton...

 

10:11pm – Bottom 7th – Tulowitzki just missed a homerun by a fraction of an inch. Two grains of the bat lower and he wins the ballgame for us. It’s all tied up at five now.

 

This game is too real.

 

10:27pm – Top 8th – I’m not saying I would get violent with the jukebox operators right now, but if someone burst through the doors and murdered them all with a meat cleaver, I wouldn’t be that upset. They’re playing “Our House” right now. Unbelievable.

 

10:36pm – Top 8th – Bettancourt works into a jam and makes the perfect pitch to Matt Stairs on 3—2. Everyone watching this game right now is witnessing superb baseball.

 

This is a beautiful game… even when rounding hour three.

 

10:50pm – Top 9th – Shane Victorino is now called Super Bunter. Victorino sacrifices Rollins to second. There’s one out, a man in scoring position with Utley up. Danger lurks.

 

10:55pm – Top 9th – Disaster has struck Coors Field. Two umpires miss two separate calls on one play to put Utley on first. I am heated right now. This is an unacceptable example of officiating.

 

10:56pm – Top 9th – And the call costs the Rockies the go—ahead run… I fully expect to be greeted with an apology letter from the MLB tomorrow morning. This is absolutely absurd. I feel bad for the other patrons of Sundown right now. I am making a scene.

 

The only thing I can possibly be happy about right now is watching Brad Lidge warming in the bullpen. That’s one Colorado native who is going to try and set things right.

 

11:00pm – Middle 9th – We’re going into the bottom frame, down a run and looking down the barrel at Hawpe, Gonzalez and Fowler. I am trying to do everything I can not to be raging pissed right now.

 

I don’t have a problem losing baseball games, but I do have a problem when they are stolen from me by bad people who can’t perform their jobs correctly.

 

11:07pm – Bottom 9th – Are you kidding me? Jason Giambi, Supervillain, is coming to the plate with a man on second. He is ready to win this thing. This is perfect.

 

11:09pm – Bottom 9th – Two down. My favorite supervillain can’t get it done.

 

I guess this is how it should be. They’re giving Todd Helton a chance to win this game. The stage is set. This is a turning point in this season. Two outs man in scoring position…

 

11:12pm – Bottom 9th – Helton draws a walk. Tulo steps to the plate. Moments like this are almost too much to take.

 

11:14pm — Game over. I tip my cap to the Phillies for a game well played, but they didn’t win this game as far as I’m concerned, not quite anyway.

 

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Tomorrow, we’ll be out for blood. I am at an unhealthy level of stress right now. I need to find someone to hold me before I meat cleaver some jukeboxers.

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