illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
If you watched that entire game and survived the experience, congratulations. You have been through your Trial by Fire, or more precisely Trial by TBS, and you have emerged all the stronger for it. Unless you’re viciously hung over today, that is, in which case you have let TBS win. I’m sorry.
It was as if that game was specially tailored to torment everyone watching it. You want a quickly resolved, emotionally easy Game 5? NOPE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. You want clean plays and pleasingly paced innings? NOPE. NONE FOR YOU. You get instead AGONY and the fine sensation of YOUR HEART TRYING TO ESCAPE YOUR CHEST CAVITY VIA YOUR MOUTH and TENSENESS AS YET UNKNOWN TO MODERN-DAY ENGINEERING and any number of other things carefully constructed to raise your blood pressure, induce the emergence of bile, and melt key portions of your brain so that it subsequently leaks out of your ears and possibly eyeballs.
It seemed like none of this was going to be the case at the very start, because Don freaking Kelly and Delmon Young hit back-to-back homers early to put the Tigers up on Ivan Nova. It was basically magical and full of wonder, like so:
Nova was out of the game after two innings. Hooray, one would think! But the Yankees REALLY wanted this one, and managed their pitchers accordingly. They didn’t want to give Nova any room to deepen the sinkhole, so we were treated to the spectacle of, at various points, both Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia in relief. Le eek.
Doug Fister only went 5 innings, but he also only gave up one run, so compared to the Yankee starter he was positively masterful. Like so:
Not one to be outdone in Taking This Game Seriouslyness, Jim Leyland had Max Scherzer come on in relief of Mister Fister. Although he was technically responsible for the second Yankee run (the first was a Cano homer off Fister), his only real contribution was a Derek Jeter single. Unpleasant, certainly, but not unforgivable… except for the fact that this single prompted Scherzer’s removal from the game, to be replaced by Joaquin Benoit.
When he came out to the mound, Benoit had a large band-aid on the side of his face. The band-aid, like most (especially at that size), was peach-colored. Joe Girardi came out and demanded that he remove said bandage, because it was “distracting”. Quote:
“I’m not trying to play a mind game or anything, but it was a pretty big Band-Aid and it was somewhat distracting, I think, it’s hard not to look at,” Girardi said. “I’m sure he had a legitimate reason, and it’s not something I necessarily wanted to do, but to me it would have been distracting.”
NY Daily News
Oh, ok. Sorry that basically all the bandages made at that size are MADE FOR WHITE PEOPLE, Joe Girardi. Sorry that Joaquin Benoit ISN’T WHITE and therefore when he has to WEAR A FREAKIN BANDAGE ON HIS FACE because he has SOME SORT OF NASTY THING THAT YOU DON’T WANT FLYIN’ FREE UP THERE, it ends up DISTRACTING FOR YOUR DELICATE PLAYERS’ VISIONS on account of his skin not matching the band-aid! SO TERRIBLE, WE MUST STOP THIS SORT OF THING FROM SULLYING THE PURE AND NONDISTRACTING GAME OF BASEBALL! AS IF JOAQUIN BENOIT’S BAND-AID IS ANY MORE DISTRACTING THAN AJ BURNETT’S ENTIRE FACE! HAVE HIM REMOVE THAT, IF YOU WILL!!
Benoit loaded the bases and walked in a run and generally turned the 7th inning into the sort of baseball that ought to come with warning labels for those of delicate dispositions or preexisting conditions. BUT IT WAS OK. He pulled through, more or less, and then Valverde pulled through, more or less, and the Tigers won the catdamned baseball game in front of ARod and Spike Lee’s terrible hat and Little Victor and John Smoltz and the world and everybody.
Here. We. Go.