The Texas Rangers won a 4-3 game against the Minnesota Twins in walk-off fashion in the 13th inning on Sunday night. This came on the heels of a 10th inning walk-off victory on Saturday night. The Rangers had not had consecutive extra-inning wins at home since 1991. You may think this article has something to do with that. The headline may lead you to believe I think two walk-offs in extra innings is like lightning striking twice in the same place. You have been deceived. This article is literally about lightning striking.
With one out and a man on 1st base in the Minnesota half of the 4th inning, play was halted due to lightning. This was no ordinary lightning off in the distance that causes your little league umpire to halt play. This was lightning that makes you say your prayers and hug your loved ones. From the sound of it, it almost certainly had to hit in the immediate area, if not the Ballpark in Arlington itself. From the reactions of those who witnessed it, you have to think the same.
Ron Washington: “I thought I was dead.”
This could have been a very bad situation. Someone could have gotten hurt. Having acknowledged that, and knowing that no one actually did get hurt, it turned out to be the funniest moment of the season for the Rangers, and probably the Twins too.
In the below screenshot, there are 15 people of interest on the field.
The below .GIF displays for us what each of the 15 did when the lightning struck and the thunderclap sounded. The .GIF may not do it justice, so you can find the full video here, and fast-forward to the 1:05 mark.
Now we attempt to step inside the mind of each of these 15 men.
1 – David Murphy: Covers ears, sees everyone else fleeing the field, and remains calm. He is a good war horse trained to be accustomed to loud noises.
2 – Adrian Beltre: Throws hands in air, gives up on life, assumes instant death, then realizes he’s still alive and attempts to ease into a nice trot over to see his buddy Elvis Andrus at shortstop.
3 – Elvis Andrus: Employs the run-away tactic, including the duck-and-cover technique. He has no wife, no children, all he needs to worry about is himself. Like Beltre, he soon senses his life is not actually in danger, and so he moseys over to his friend Ian Kinsler at second base, heart still racing, and suddenly feeling his life is less complete without a family of his own.
4 – Craig Gentry: Motionless. Perhaps one step to his left as if a fly ball had been hit to right-center field. Perhaps he only moved because he saw everyone else move. Wait, is Craig Gentry deaf?
5 – Roy Oswalt: Balk. The most blatant balk in the history of baseball. The umpires did not call the balk. Apparently “thunder” is a valid excuse for a balk. The next pitch Roy Oswalt would throw would be an inning-ending double play. Perhaps the Twins will appeal this loss and blame it on an act of God.
6 – Mike Napoli: Mike Napoli is no dummy. He hears “bang” and he’s gone. Unlike Beltre and Andrus, he didn’t stop after three or four strides, realizing he was no longer in danger. He just kept on running until he was in the safety of the dugout. He took a seat on the bench and said “oh boy, lightning, you thought you were gonna get me, but never again!” (Mike Napoli has never been struck by lightning)
7 – Home Plate Umpire: At the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the umpire tunnel is next to the third base dugout. This umpire is clearly a follower, not a leader. He saw Napoli take off running and quickly followed suit. Forty-five feet later, he collected himself and realized he ran the wrong direction.
8 – Ryan Doumit: In high school, Ryan Doumit was a sprinter (maybe, I didn’t look). Upon the pop of what he could only assume was a starter’s pistol, he dropped into the starting line position and took off. He finally got out of the blocks as quick as his preparatory track coach had always dreamed he could.
9 – 2nd Base Umpire: His mom never wanted him to be an umpire. She always said he had the grace of a dancer. So here, in what he believed to be his last moments, he did the Cha-Cha of his life for his momma. Happy belated Mother’s Day.
10 – Ian Kinsler: From the reactions of Beltre and Andrus, it is clear that Kinsler is the port in a storm on this Rangers team. He lived up to the task on this occasion, deeming a near-death experience to be worthy of a good crotch grab. No more, and no less. This was the most calming, inspiring crotch grab in the history of the world.
11 – Nelson Cruz: Cruz’s reaction mirrored that of Beltre and Andrus, but Cruz had no Kinsler to run to. Instead, he ran towards the outfield wall, away from safety. It’s a lonely island in right field sometimes.
12 – Josh Willingham: A former Civil War re-enactor from Florence, Alabama, Josh Willingham’s training took over, and he went prone on all fours. General Lee would be proud of you, son.
13 – Michael Young: He followed all the protocol that they give you in a pre-flight safety routine. He ducked, protecting himself first. Then he assisted those nearby him. That’s not just admirable, that’s leadership.
14 – 1st Base Umpire: The only man on the field who had to overcome two sources of attack. First, the lightning strike, which he handled with professionalism. Second, the Twins first base coach, who came flying at him like an orangutan mother looking to protect one of her babies. Mr. Umpire quickly faced his attacker, neutralized the threat, and ran for safety.
15 – Jerry White: Jerry White is my favorite. His reaction is a combination of Chicken Little, a Vietnam flashback, a heroic effort to make sure everyone is safe, and complete disorientation. He runs in a complete circle, arms above his head, almost certainly screaming the entire time. Don’t ever sneak up behind Jerry White and yell “Boo!”
You probably didn’t need me to tell you all of this. Beltre, Kinsler, and Andrus would be happy to re-enact it over and over and over again for you.
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