Dear Fellow Astros Fans who have, for whatever reasons, entered this thread after the Astros' historically epic late-inning collapse today at the capable and very clutch hands of the Royals:
What are you doing here?
Or, more precisely, what is it you are looking for? Something detailed that will allow us to get to the bottom of this crime scene? Something soothing to heal your wounds? Something scorching, to match your still fire-hot ire at the bullpen and Hinch? Something hopeful to keep your hopes alive? Something existential to put it all into perspective? Something funny because laughter is the best medicine?
Let me see what I can do.
I write this recap on my newly acquired and still somewhat off-puttingly foreign-to-me Macbook, with the writers' email thread open, the game thread open, the box score up, and my notes up and running. I fully intended to refer to all of them by the end of this cruel and dusty post-mortem but I'm not sure that's the best strategy here. I could tell you what you probably already know, pulling from my copious notes to tell you who struck out whom at which pivotal moments. I could tell you about the great play by our rookies, McCullers and Correa. I could tell you about the overturned steal that killed a Royals rally. I could tell you about the bottom of the 7th, when Correa and Rasmus both homered to all but put the game away. And then I could tell you about the top of the eighth, and the bullpen, and Hinch, and, yes, Correa's very costly error. But I just can't. And I don't think it's appropriate.
I want to address the big picture. An epic collapse requires a pull-back. It requires a panoramic, big picture approach. And what better way to get the big picture than the big screen. Let's start with some movie dialogue intended to address all of the above listed motivations:
"Doctor, was there any sign of injury? Scrapes? Cuts? Bruises? Broken bones? Any sign of violence?"
"Other than the dead body?"
Tom Cruise and Kevin Pollack, A Few Good Men, with Will Harris in a cameo performance as Private Santiago.
"It happened just like that. Nobody could stop it. It isn't fair. There's no reason. And if we start asking why, we'll go crazy."
Tom Hanks, Sleepless in Seattle, explaining the top of the eighth to his grieving son.
"Out of order. I'll show YOU 'out of order'! You don't know what 'out of order' is, Mr. Trask. I'd show you, but I"m too old, I'm too tired, I'm too *****ing blind. If I were the man I was five years ago I'd take a flamethrower to this place!"
Al Pacino as LTC Frank Slade, Scent of a Woman, addressing the optimists who just want to enjoy having had a good season.
"That game was our last hope."
"No, there is another."
Obi-Wan and Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back, talking sports.
"It just doesn't matter."
Bill Murray, Meatballs, this needs no explanation. The guys from Camp Mohawk will always get all the girls no matter what we do because they have all the money.
"I would be upset if I weren't so heavily sedated."
David St. Hubbins, This Is Spinal Tap, overheard over nachos at MMP.
This has been a great series. It has featured peaks and valleys for both teams, comebacks, home runs galore, and more than its fair share of surprises. And this was a great game, something of a microcosm of the series. It's fitting, if frustrating beyond belief for Astros fans, that we'll get a fifth and final game in Kansas City on Wednesday. It has given us mostly long suffering Astros fans reasons to cheer and great hope for the future. We weren't supposed to get this far. For that, we should be happy.
But neither are teams supposed to blow four-run leads in the 8th. And the Astros sure as heck did. This is indeed epic. It's almost galactically epic. One might predict that they'll be talking about this for a long, long time, in galaxies far, far away.
Unless these Astros win Game Five.
Because there is another.