Friday, August 15, 2008

There is no joy in Canada, for Stubby has flied out

What a way to go. The Canadians came so close to beating the U.S. in today's Olympic baseball game, and held a 4-0 lead at one point. In the end, they lose 5-4 after some bad pitching and a couple of poor fielding plays. The brutal thing was how it ended, though, with Canadian legend Stubby Clapp at the plate. Clapp, the man who had to fight the Astros just to get here, the veteran whose key hitting and fielding inspired many Canadian baseball fans, playing in possibly one of the last games of his career. Once more, Canada was counting on him to get the job done after the rest of their bats came up short, and this time, he couldn't come through to save the day. You know his spirit was willing, but sometimes the aging bodies just can't do what you need them to.

It was so close to being a tremendous comeback, though. Matt Rogelsted flied out on the first at-bat of the night, but catcher Chris Robinson singled to right, and Brett Lawrie was brought in as a quicker pinch-runner. Jimmy VanOstrand pinch-hit for Adam Stern and struck out, though, bringing up Clapp with two out. Clapp battled hard, taking two balls and a strike before cranking a massive drive to right field. For a moment, it looked like Canada would pull out a miraculous victory, as Lawrie got a great jump and looked sure to score. However, the ball hooked just foul. Clapp fouled off one more pitch, but then hit an easy pop-up fly to short. It certainly wasn't his fault that Canada lost, as he had a decent game (he hit 1 for 5 with a run, and recorded two put-outs and four assists in the field). Just, this time around, Canada couldn't count on Clapp to bail them out.

This loss doesn't completely knock the Canadians out, but they're now 1-3, and they're going to have a tough time getting back in it. It's too bad, especially considering how close most of the games have been. Still, miracles do sometimes happen. For Richard (Stubby) Clapp and all the Canadians who admire him, it would have been nicer if the miracle had happened today. Our world clearly needs more narrativium, as this time around, harsh reality ruined what would have been a great storybook ending.

Related: Rob Pettapiece has all the game details in a great live blog over at Out of Left Field.

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