It’s fist-pumping time for Halo fans

December 25, 2019 | |Post a Comment

first_img The White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski swung and missed at a low pitch from Kelvim Escobar to end the bottom of the ninth with the score tied, and Doug Eddings raised his fist in an “out’ sort of way, and Angels catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball to the mound and jogged to the dugout. Then Pierzynski bolted toward first base and Eddings froze and wondered what the batter knew that the umpire didn’t know. Eddings reversed himself, figuring the pitch from Escobar might have been in the dirt, giving Pierzynski the base and Chicago the runner who came home on Joe Crede’s double. Eddings would say later that the fist in the air didn’t mean “out,” it was just “my strike-three mechanic.” Tonight, show him the Angels fans’ new You Screwed Up mechanic. The Angels themselves can’t play angry, and with manager Mike Scioscia establishing the usual even tone, they probably won’t. That doesn’t mean the home crowd can’t root angry, knowing their club was robbed of a chance to atone in extra innings for their weak hitting and erratic fielding. The question is what to say, what to do. No need to yell crude things about the umpires, to drag their families into this or to impugn the dignity of innocent farm animals. Absolutely no call to throw things. This isn’t a political revolution (the revolution will not have instant replay), so there’s no bloody shirt to be waved. Not even a Curt Schilling bloody sock. Just a little baseball championship at stake here. A simple quiet wave of the fist will do. The Angels flew home right after Wednesday’s game. They canceled an off-day workout, preferring to get some overdue rest and maybe to hide from whatever dark forces are next in line. The White Sox took batting practice at Angel Stadium. They know they stole one, and they only jokingly feigned uncertainty about whether the third strike to Pierzynski had hopped into Paul’s mitt. “We were flying last night, so I didn’t see any replays,” Crede said to laughter from the writers around his locker. “And I slept all day today. I guess I think he made the right call. We’ll take it any way we can get it.” Nice try by the umpires afterward to say the ball must have hit the dirt because “there was a change of direction there.” Thanks to the Warren Commission for that analysis. Nice diplomacy by the TV guys laying part of the blame on Paul for not tagging Pierzynski even though the catcher thought he caught the ball, knew he caught the ball, did catch the ball, saw Pierzynski take a first step toward the dugout and would have seen — if his back hadn’t been turned by then — Eddings put up his fist for an out. Why should Paul have thought there was any doubt about the pitch? You can blame the Angels for not hitting Mark Buehrle, for throwing the ball all over the South Side, for not getting Crede out. You can’t blame anybody else for the third-strike screw-up until you blame the umpire. Make this a rallying point tonight. With a five-knuckled salute, five times better than one finger. Raise that right fist, as if it’s holding a hammer of baseball justice, at the pregame introductions, after Angels hits, after White Sox strikeouts. Especially White Sox strikeouts. Kevin Modesti is a columnist for the Daily News, a sister paper of the Press-Telegram. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Tuck your fingers into your palm, cock your elbow, pump your fist. Make it the gesture of the 2005 Angels fan, an emblem to replace the halo and the monkey and the Thunder Stix. Raise your right fist tonight. Assuming you’re an angry Angels fan, if that phrase isn’t redundant right now. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Wednesday in Chicago, an umpire’s right fist in the air signaled a gross lapse of competence by MLB’s Finest and set up the ninth-inning White Sox victory over the Angels that tied the American League pennant series at a game apiece. Tonight at Angel Stadium, at a Game 3 likely to be played amid an atmosphere of most un-O.C.-like edginess, fans’ right fists can signal determination in a way that no amount of angry screaming can. In the four decades before their 2002 World Series victory, the Angels and their public had many occasions to feel like losers, like chokers, like tragic figures. They never felt like the victims of a sporting injustice, though, the way they do now. First nature turned against them, raining out an opening-round game at Yankee Stadium and forcing the Angels to play in New York, Anaheim and Chicago in the span of three nights. Then a home-plate umpire named Doug Eddings ruled against them. They were good enough to overcome nature. They weren’t good enough to trump the ump. last_img

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