(Jim Rogash/Getty Images )
BOSTON — It doesn’t happen often. But, a few times a year, I’ll write a game story and then head down to the clubhouse for quotes, and what the players and managers say doesn’t sync with what I’ve written. In fact, it can be the opposite.
That’s OK, because I am not writing for the players or coaching staff – they’ll all tell you they never read what we write anyway. (I think a player would get put on the union’s double-secret probation list if he admitted to a reporter that he read what he or she wrote.)
But sometimes the clubhouse context surprises me.
Tuesday was one of those nights. The Orioles’ 8-6 win over the Boston Red Sox in 10 innings was not well-played. The Orioles had several chances to blow the Red Sox out and they couldn’t do it. They had Boston lefty Jon Lester’s pitch count up to 60 after three innings, and made him throw just 22 more pitches in the next two innings.
The defense again looked rough – particularly Mark Reynolds at first. Impenetrable closer Jim Johnson blew his first save since last August by serving up a two-run, two-out, two-strike homer in the ninth.
And Jason Hammel, who has been the club’s most reliable starter, could throw just five innings because of his elevated pitch count.
Ugly and sloppy I called it.
But when we entered the clubhouse, manager Buck Showalter, who usually downplays any situation where a superlative can be used, called the game, “one of our better wins of the year.”
Several players called it “a great team win.”
There was nothing great about the individual performances. I know that.
But the point – for the players and staff – is that it was great because they won. And because maybe they shouldn’t have. And frankly, in years past, that’s a game they lose. In Fenway, with the Red Sox against the ropes and the Orioles in a tailspin. No doubt that’s usually a loss.
And certainly that type of victory has some significance – though I don’t know ultimately how much.
It was a sloppy game, a hard one to watch and write about.
But for the players all that mattered was the end. And, yeah, I can understand that, too.