Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Antidote for Untimely Clouts

A confession: The first contest of this triple billing between the Philadelphias and our Bostons struck fear in the McInnes heart over the clouting potential of the upstart competitors from the City of Brotherly Love. An evening’s worth of scalding swats from the “Phillies” found me questioning the ability of our hurlers to keep the pill safely inside the confines of the ball-field.

I must have skipped my daily draught of nerve-tonic, because those fears dissipated faster than a specter in the warm glow of the friendly sun as soon as our boys returned to the tournament grounds. The old base-ball adage is indisputable: Momentum is only as good as your next match’s starting twirler.

And what fine twirling we saw! First, “Nothin’ Doin’” Lester proved that his commanding “no-hit” performance was no sideshow trick. Next, the yannigan Masterson continued to impress the professional club with his mastery of the old horsehide. Both starting hurlers befuddled the mighty swat artists of the opposing club, while their team-mates answered the call with a barrage of white bullets that had the Philadelphias chasing their own tails while our boys sauntered around the diamond.

But the greatest performance was that of “Dancin’ Johnny” Papelbon, who completed both contests like the Grim Reaper himself, clad in gray flannel to collect the souls of the unfortunate bats-men at the plate. His hard tossing was untouchable, surely making even the most confident swatters wish that their mothers had never met their fathers.

As much as we love a hard smacked two-bagger or the eponymous full-circuit clout, games such as these remind us that there is no purer joy in all of base-balling than tyrannical twirling at the hands of a master like Papelbon.

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