Midway through the 13th inning, with the Padres beating the Rockies 8-6, I stepped out front for my umpteenth cigarette of the night and started thinking about the lede for this story. It went like this:
On Earth Two, inside the recently discovered galaxy ESO 137-001, 200 million light years from the Milky Way, the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 7-6. Garrett Atkins played the hero, squeezing a 7th inning pitch just out of the park on what lesser umpires might have ruled a double. A little further away in the cosmos, on Earth Three, the Rockies won the game 6-5, when leading NL MVP candidate Matt Holliday ended a potential Padres rally by fielding a simple fly ball in the 8th. Here on Earth Prime, the Rockies fought valiantly, forcing 13 innings of baseball against arguably the NL’s best pitching staff, but came up just short, leaving them with nothing but memories of ... the greatest three weeks in Rockies history.
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At that point, I was planning on celebrating a great season instead of mourning a painful loss. I was going to write about how we shouldn’t feel bad for the Rockies, at least they got to play one game in the month of October, and that that game was one of the greatest sporting events ever seen on any planet. And I was particularly looking forward to ripping the Paiges and Kiszlas who were no doubt ready to pounce on the Rockies uncharacteristic outfield errors and Clint Hurdle’s strategy to allow every pitcher on our roster at least 1/3 of an inning of camera time. The piece was going to be funny and thoughtful and incisive.
Then the team had to go and win the thing for real. So I’m left writing this:
Matt Holliday hammered a triple and scored the winning run as the Rockies earned their first playoff berth in 12 years on a three-run, bottom of the 13th rally against the greatest closer in MLB history.
You’re right -- it sounds a little too cliché. -- Mark Schiff