I’ve always liked the Toronto Blue Jays, mainly because I like Cito Gaston.
Cito wasn’t a special player, although he did make the all star team once as a Padre. To me, Cito just seemed a special man. This judgment stems from a single statement he once made.
When he was a Brave, Gaston was Hank Aaron’s roommate. Cito was asked what he admired most about Aaron, Gaston didn’t say, “That guy can hit,” or “He’s the best baseball player I’ve ever seen.” Instead, Gaston said, “He taught me how to be a man and stand on my own.”
Memories: the world and I were younger back then, but Henry taught a bunch of us how to live with dignity.
Thanks, Cito, for the memory; and thank you, Mr. Aaron. You were as good as any player I ever saw, probably as good as anyone who ever played the game. More importantly, you stood, against death threats and other evil, a brave man on your own, with humility and grace.
Andrew McKirahan and Brandon Cunniff both retired the two hitters they faced, and the game remained tied at two going into the bottom of the seventh. Nick Swisher walked. Are the Braves going to win? Alas, Andrelton makes contact, and tonight he contacted into two — count ’em — double plays.
Top of the eighth: Cunniff’s still on the mound. He strikes out tonight’s villain Justin Smoak, who homered off Julio in the fifth to tie the game; but he walks Russell Martin, and Fredi brings the hook. Mark Marksberry? Really? What hath Fredi wrought?
Strike out! Ryan Goins is gone! So is Marksberry, as Fredi goes to the pen, one more time again, and pulls out … PETAH! Peter Moylan’s in to face Kevin Pillar, who hits it to Simba. What a dumbass. Aussie, Aussie. Oy! Oy! Oy!
The dream lives. Tonight’s the night THE BRAVES WIN. Maybe. We do have to score, you know; so let’s see. Jace Peterson leads off. Nope: groundout to second.
Neck’s next. Come on, Nick Markakis. Woo! Seeing eye single to left.
Daniel Castro’s at the plate. Good morning, good evening, good night. Sit down, Daniel.
Freddie Freeman: what more could you ask for with the go-ahead run at first? Anything else, evidently. Freddie pops up to center, and the game’s still tied going to the ninth.
Arodys Vizcaino’s in, and he’s throwing smoke. No strikeouts, but three outs on nine pitches. The pen’s been great. Let’s win this thing!
Adonis Garcia almost gets robbed by Darwin Barney, but Smoak can’t handle the hop. Runner on first for Aloysius Josephus Pierzynski. Whap! Third hit tonight for A.J. Runners are on first and third, nobody’s out, and Cameron Maybin’s at the plate.
Cameron bounces to a drawn in second baseman. One out. Runners still at second and third. Simba’s up. Hard shot to right. Braves win. The Braves win.