My softball team, the Blue Thunder, lost in the playoffs Tuesday night. That's bad enough. We had become a really good team, as good as any in the league, so it sucked to have our season come to an end.
You know what sucks even more? Being the goat. A choker.
We were down 6-5 going in the top of the last inning. I was in right field. There were two outs, bases loaded. The next guy hit a line-drive between me and the right-center fielder. I got a late jump but I was there. Got my glove on the ball. Couldn't make the catch. Three runs scored. 9-5.
We got the final out and came to bat. You know how announcers always say, "It always seems like the guy who made the great play leads off the bottom of the inning"? Well, sometimes, the guy who choked and committed a three-run error also leads off the bottom of the inning. And then that guy gets to choke all over again, grounding out to shortstop.
We ended up scoring one run so we lost by three. The difference was the three-run error by the choking right fielder.
When he blew Game 7 of the NLCS against the Marlins, Kerry Wood looked a roomful of reporters in the eye and said: "I choked." He was man enough to admit it, and so am I.
I know I'm being awfully hard on myself. As many of my teammates later said as they tried to console me: If you only score six runs in softball, you can't win. I suppose that's true. We had been hitting the hell out of the ball, but just about everybody struggled in this one.
Still, if the right fielder makes that catch ...
OK. I've bloodied myself enough. It's a great group of guys and we'll be teammates again in the Fall League. In a day or three, I'll shake this off ... I think.
Until then, I'll wallow in self-pity a little. That's what chokers do, no?