Baseball is a fickle beast: Gregory Polanco stars as a tragic hero after he tripped in 12th inning
Comedies are simply tragedies that were cut short. That story with the beautiful ending where everyone ended up married and happy? Yeah, just "Six Feet Under"-style fast-forward it and there will be nothing but tears.
Gregory Polanco learned that lesson on Friday afternoon against the Cubs. After the Pirates stormed back from deficits of 7-1 and 10-5 to tie Chicago, the teams headed to extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th with the score still tied, the Cubs had loaded the bases with one out when Gregory Polanco was called upon. Fielding Matt Szczur's shallow fly in right field, Polanco hurled the ball to the plate like he was Artemis with her golden bow, nailing Starlin Castro and keeping the game alive.
But there were dark portents about ...
Two innings later, time was stuck in a loop and the Cubs found themselves in the exact same situation: bases loaded, one out, Szczur at the plate with Castro on third base. Even the runners at first and second -- Jorge Soler and Miguel Montero, respectively -- were in the same positions they were in the 10th. And, again, Szczur popped the ball to shallow right field.
This time, though, with the Fates correcting some flaw or just following the logic of the "Final Destination" films, there was a rift. The ground shifted, Polanco's legs lost their grip upon the earth and gravity, cruel gravity, kept dragging the fly ball down to the ground.
One day, there may be plays written about this moment, about man's hubris in the face of Nature and the folly of believing that our heroes are infallible. And we will enjoy this play, through our tears, for the cathartic release it gives us, knowing that we will never be called upon to catch a fly ball with the bases loaded of a tie game in extra innings.