DETROIT -- Sometime Sunday night, Coco Crisp said he doesn't know when, his mind will become a video camera and “I'll hit the replay button.” And his misery will begin afresh. He'll see himself running toward Miguel Cabrera's ball in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon. There are two outs and two runners on. If he catches it, the inning's over and the A's keep their 2-1 lead in Game 2 of the ALDS.
“I don't know if it's going to happen just before I go to sleep or after I get to sleep,” the A's centerfielder said. He said it the same way you would expect your car, low on fuel and not a station around, to run out of gas. It will happen soon or it will happen later. Your fists clench because you know it will happen.
“Obviously it's inevitable,” said Crisp, his voice sounding weary.
One doesn't make the key play of a playoff game, the one that changes everything, and then hit the delete key on the memory bank.
“I still believe it was the right decision,” Crisp said. To slide or to make a basket catch, that was his decision. He decided to make the basket catch. And in the seconds that followed the decision I came to appreciate more than ever how easy the great Willie Mays made that catch.
The fly ball hit the heel of Crisp's glove. It caromed forward and for a nano-second Crisp had it at the tip of his webbing. But, now sliding, Crisp's forward momentum shot the ball from his glove and in one last attempt, he threw out his right hand at it, like it had Velcro and somehow the ball would stick to it.
The ball dropped, Austin Jackson and Omar Infante, off with the pitch, scored two unearned runs. The A's would go on to lose, 5-4. No matter what the sport, all defeats are reduced to analysis — what coulda, shoulda been done. In Game One, Detroit's Justin Verlander threw peas up there and Oakland couldn't hit them. OK, fine, the A's didn't lose Game One; Verlander beat them. But Sunday's Game Two, this one was the other way around.