2011: A Chiefs Oddyssey – Jason’s #9


It’s outlandish how many of those natural disasters happened to us this season, Kev.  Early in the year, folks were canoeing on SU’s campus.  Then, the earthquake in Pawtucket.  And our hurricane in Allentown.  Somehow, we went tornado-free.  We replaced the cyclone with May 7th in Durham.

#9:  Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind?

It was either that or “a silver tear appearing now.”  They’re both appropriate for what happened in North Carolina–in my mind and yours–on the first Saturday of the fifth month of 2011.

After six Chiefs turns at bat, the score was 0-0.  Yunesky Maya and Alex Torres wouldn’t budge on the mound.  Six total hits were on the board after the top of the sixth.  Durham, though, got a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning as Justin Ruggiano doubled home Desmond Jennings.  Russ Canzler brought Ruggiano home with a single to right-center field.  With the Chiefs’ batting average last in pro baseball at that time, the idea of two runs before nine outs seemed rather loopy.

With Boomer Whiting at first with one out in the eighth, though, Alex Valdez bashed a two-run homer to tie the game (and continue to shoehorn himself onto this Top 12).  That’s where the score stood into the 11th inning.  For a Chiefs team which had won just two of its last 11 games, the sheer prospect of a comeback win contained restorative nutrients.

In the top of the second extra inning, the Chiefs unloaded.  With Carlos Maldonado at first, Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo replaced Ryan Reid with soft-throwing R.J. Swindle, a veteran of the International League whose offspeed pitch was known to travel slower than the average Edsel.  Corey Brown, reputedly a fastball hitter, was the opponent.  After a first-pitch strike, Brown mauled an offspeed pitch to right field for a two-run homer.  Later in the inning, Jhonatan Solano’s double scored Tug Hulett and the Chiefs’ 11th-inning lead bulged to three.

But.  Durham got one last chance.  One green-double-zero-times-royal-flush-times-Clippers-win-the-finals chance.

To paraphrase an old musical, a funny thing happened on the way to the win column.

I choose to listen to Zero Mostel sing as a Roman slave than to dwell on this game.  I hope you will do the same.

Up three, J.D. Martin came in for Josh Wilkie.  The first batter Martin faced, Chris Carter, did this:

Evidently I felt extra foreboding that day.  I didn’t know it then.  Robinson Chirinos struck out.  Whew.  Russ Canzler walked.  Randy Knorr brought Adam Carr in.  Leslie Anderson singled.  Omar Luna struck out.  Double whew.  Then Ray Olmedo walked.  Bases loaded.  Desmond Jennings walked.  5-4.  Then, this:

For those of you who like intense jubilation in an informed, yet spiteful package, here’s how my friend Neil Solondz called it in Durham:

Can’t you imagine Neil wagging his finger at me as he says “How about that?”  Dr. Claw has nothing on Solondz.

Kev, as I recall, you were accepting an award that night.  Seems to me that it was for “Most loyal coolatta drinker in Central New York.”  Am I remembering correctly?

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