A fastball to Jurickson Profar sails high, forcing Narvaez out of his crouch. Matt Olson lines a flat breaking ball over the middle for a double. A run scores and the bases are loaded in the first, and suddenly we wonder if there is anything left. Each time the count reaches two strikes, the crowd waves its cards and wills its support. Just one strikeout. One moment. Then, a grounder to short, and everyone sits, relieved. The struggles continue again. A check swing by Marcus Semien goes around, but the ump misses it and calls ball four, and that proves damaging when Matt Chapman puts one over the center field wall.
He needs thirty pitches in the first, another twenty in the second. Time is running out. But something else is happening as well, something strange and tangible. With each strikeout he turns and points to the court, and the court points back. Something is weakening, a barrier between the crowd and the field.
Most baseball is experienced behind the glass of the television screen, and the rest through pathetic demands for players to toss up foul balls. Despite the occasional collision, baseball exists on a separate plane. But as the game continues it feels as if we are actually real, that we can touch the action. Kyle Seager prompts the crowd to cheer between pitches. When Scott Servais comes out to talk to the pitcher in the fourth, the shared animosity of twenty thousand people seems to drive him back to the dugout. And then, with two outs and the bases loaded in the fifth, it happens.
To Dylan Moore , a utility infielder faking left field, the most anonymous player on an anonymous team. The play is in front of us, and we hurl our fifteen years of feelings against the now permeable divide between ourselves and the game, willing him into action. It works. Moore gets a great jump, moves back and to his left, and, bending backwards, makes an extraordinary leaping catch for the third out. He has, a small fraction of one.
David Michod On ‘The King,’ & Keeping It All In Perspective – Venice – Deadline
They give him one more batter to start the sixth, so that he can have his ovation. The count begins , and the event horizon is here.
We have moments left. Then a swinging strike, a called strike. They keep playing the game, although who knows why. A procession of anonymous Mariner relievers duly complete the transaction, and the three runs are, indeed, more than enough.
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Eventually the Athletics, who have another day ahead and their own story to write, lined up for high fives and disappear into the dugout. As they cheer, he climbs up and passed through the membrane, discarding the last remaining barrier between baseball player and baseball fan. For one moment, he was us and we were him. We cheered, the only way we could pay back what we owed him. Occidental Avenue is dark, lit only by the glow of the stadium, the fluorescent lights of the bike taxis, and the flashing lights of the traffic cops.
THE KING OF HELL'S PALACE
All of its age and wear are invisible now; there are only people. Despite the hour, despite the loss, for a moment the old street pulses with life. The smell of marijuana mingles with the discount sausages. Laughter and drunken swearing and idle chatter surround me.
‘The King’: Venice Review
It should have been a sad night, and perhaps it is, but the people that walk past me up the alley are loud and happy. His, however, will not end here. This is a free article.
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