Two very different performances will be remembered from Sunday’s playoff baseball games.

In Arlington, Evan Longoria hit a home run and two doubles to force a deciding fifth game for his Tampa Bay Rays against the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.  Rays fans should be very happy no one told Longoria that MVP voting occurs before the playoffs begin, because his heroic play with Tampa Bay’s backs to the wall is exactly what inspires old sportswriters to mark an X next to your name on a ballot.

Down two games to none heading to Texas, it was a foregone conclusion that the Rays would be eliminated, but on the back of Longoria and (what else?) young pitching, Tampa Bay is readying themselves for the series finale on Tuesday night at home.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, rookie second baseman Brooks Conrad allowed a grounder off the bat of Buster Posey to go through his legs and into center field, scoring the Giants’ winning run.  It was Conrad’s third error of the game.

There’s a weird mix of blame and pity being sent Conrad’s way.  On one hand, however clumsy it may be, Conrad is playing in the MLB playoffs.  It’s more than fair to expect an infielder at any level to come up with the ground ball sent his way off Posey’s bat.

However, Conrad had already committed two errors in the game, and in that situation – eighth inning, protecting a lead, a better defensive alignment was available to Bobby Cox.

Trying to explain the thoughts going through either man’s mind is futile.  As Hugh MacLennan wrote in The Watch That Ends The Night, “There is no simple explanation for anything important any of us do, and that the human tragedy, or the human irony, consists in the necessity of living with the consequences of actions performed under the pressure of compulsions so obscure we do not and cannot understand them.”

We’ve all been there.  Perhaps not on a scale as large as the MLB Playoffs.  But we’ve all experienced a time when, under extreme pressure, we blew it.  Completely lost it and fell apart.  We can all relate to Conrad’s flub, probably more easily than to Longoria’s heroics.  And that’s what makes baseball so human and so watchable.

For me, the feelings of empathy come into play because the drama or tragedy of the sport had to come at Conrad’s expense.  He’s a young player who will perhaps never be forgotten as the guy who lost the Braves the series and tied the record for committing the most errors in one playoff game.

Comments (6)

  1. Especially considering Conrad’s regular-season resume: as a backup infielder, he had two pinch-hit grand slams! That’s insanity. But now he’ll be remembered as mini Buckner, and that kind of sucks.

    As someone who’s been staunchly anti-Braves during the playoffs, I’m a bit torn; if it had been, say, Chipper Jones who let an easy grounder go through his legs, I’d be jumping for joy. But now I’m kinda hoping Brooks Conrad makes a game-saving defensive play or hits a walkoff homer or something tonight (setting up San Fran for a win at home in Game 5, of course).

  2. Agree completely. The fact that Conrad is young and essentially an injury replacement for Prado makes his downfall sadder. A little redemption might be niche, but It’s still not getting me to cheer for the Braves.

    The error coming after the Hinske home run didn’t make it any less dramatic either.

  3. It’s like Bruce the other night for the Reds, completely flubbing a rather routine flyball. I think that killed the Reds confidence, whatever was left of it after getting Doctored.

    And your soul appears to be worth something….AJ Burnett will start game 4 of the ALCS.

  4. Hahaha. Thank you Satan.

  5. Fuck off parkes

  6. Conrad is 30. Also, I have to add a bunch more words. Apparently this site hates short comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *