The Year: 2008
The Day: July 21st
The Royals were 45-54 and quickly slipping into the mediocrity that seemed to permeate Kansas City baseball in the months of July and August. I purchased tickets to go to an unassuming game against the Detroit Tigers. This may have been the greatest mistake of my life.
I was hoping that Hoche would show some of the occasional signs of life he sometimes has during the 2nd half of the season and unfortunately I was very wrong. Things were fine until the 3rd inning when Luke had a little trouble and boom…we were down 5-0. Two innings later and we were down 7-0 and Hochevar had earned all 7 of those runs. It was a familiar tale. One I’d seen before. But this game was far from over.
Robinson Tejeda came in during the 6th inning and provided a solid inning of relief. In the 7th he ran into a bit of trouble. He got two outs, but gave up 3 walks and a triple to Matt Joyce. It was at this time that Trey Hillman made a foolish decision. He put in Jimmy Gobble.
Now, as a manager, you may not think it matters what reliever you want to bring in when your team is down 8-0. However, in my humble opinion, bringing Jimmy Gobble in for any situation was always an awful decision.
I was proven correct.
In the 7th, Gobble got the final out after walking a man in. This wasn’t enough of a warning sign for Hillman, so he sent Gobble back out for the 8th.
Let me break down the following atrocity for you.
- Double (Run Scored)
- Wild Pitch(Run Scored)
- Single (Run Scored)
- Home-Run (3 Runs Scored)
- Fly-out to Center
- Pop-out to Short
- Walk (Run Scored)
- Pitching Change: Leo Nunez for Jimmy Gobble
- Double (2 Runs Scored)
- Single (Run Scored)
When the dust had settled, Gobble had given up 10 runs. Granted, Nunez gave up a double and a single before getting the final out of the inning, but the base-runners were all Gobble’s. It was the single-most pathetic display of baseball I’ve ever watched in person. And I’ve watched some doozies.* I had no idea how to process what I saw. It is absolutely sickening to watch one of your pitchers get absolutely battered on the mound.** As a result, I did something that is shaming, even for a fan of a team that has been as bad as the Royals have been in years past.
*If you’re reading this blog, you probably have too.
**No matter how much you loathe him.
I left early.
The score was 19-0 and at that point, I think I had to leave to maintain some form of hope. Watching the rest of that game in person could’ve scarred me forever. As I rode home I thought, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t. It’s one thing to get beat ALL THE TIME. It’s another to get absolutely embarrassed. I’m done. I.am.done.”
These are the moments that bind you to a team forever. If you can still support your team through a 19-run drubbing, you should be able to support them through anything. When I got back to the house, my uncle turned the game on. I thought about leaving, but couldn’t. Then I saw Tony Pena Jr. was pitching for the Royals. “This is a joke,” I thought. “I’m not watching this anymore.” But I couldn’t leave. “Whatever,” I sighed. “If they want to make this game even more of a mockery than it is I don’t care. At the end of it I’m still going to be a Royals fan and the first year that we make the playoffs in my lifetime will be all the sweeter because of how bad they’ve been.”
TPJ retired the side 1-2-3, striking out Pudge Rodriguez in the process.
I’ve always taken that as a sign that I made the right decision. But I’m not sad that Gobble doesn’t don a Royals uniform anymore.