What a silly night.
It started with a first pitch by the producer (not even the namesake) of "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz," a popular ESPN radio show. It included two home runs by Jawuan Harris, who is hitting .183 and slugging .310, the largest comeback in TinCaps history for a 12-11 victory, a benches-clearing incident and baserunner eluding a run-down to allow the winning run to score.
The 7,752 in attendance at Parkview Field on Thursday definitely got their money's worth on the unofficial "Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz" night.
The TinCaps (9-17 second half) and Peoria Chiefs (4-22) are both last in their respective halves of the Midwest League standings, and that part hasn't changed even as the TinCaps have won the first two games of this three-game series. But there's no hiding the fact that getting knocked around by the worst team in the Midwest League – the Chiefs held an 8-0 advantage in the fourth inning and then an 11-2 lead – would be a pretty demoralizing result.
Of course, the TinCaps didn't have to leave the ballpark with another such demoralizing result. They strung together singles and doubles, they hit home runs, and they crossed the plate on a slightly hinky but ultimately successful double-steal. After getting pushed around in the first five innings, pitchers Austin Smith and Adrian Martinez held the Chiefs scoreless for the final four innings.
Harris wouldn't go so far as to call Thursday's win the most exciting moment of the season – Fort Wayne also had an eighth-inning grand slam in a 5-4 win over Dayton in the first week of the season – but he did agree that it was the biggest moment of the second half of the season so far. And for a team that's seemingly been in a funk for several months, perhaps this is the game that shakes them out of their rut and starts a charge for a playoff berth.
Or maybe not. Predicting what will happen in the next inning, let alone the final month and a half of the regular season, is often a fools errand, as we all learned tonight. Baseball, after all, can be a very silly game.