Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball as Saturday wraps up and becomes Sunday, May 6.
Gentle reader, among baseball players a “dong” is one of many words for a home run, mostly heard in the back of baseball buses. Others are a “dinger,” a “donger”, a “ding-dong” and when Bob Prince broadcast for Pittsburgh he called a home run a “ding-a-ling.” From the minute the Cardinals brought up Colton Wong, the possibility existed that a headline like the one I employed to lead this article would happen. I thought the odds were against that headline being needed, since Wong is nobody’s Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton. But just after 6 PM the bulletins were all over Twitter. The Cards had beaten their rival the Chicago Cubs, 8-6 in 10 innings on a home run by Colton Wong. So with a nod to Larry Vincent and the Lookout Boys, I borrowed one of their song lyrics and voila, a usable headline.
The game was a beauty even before Wong’s heroics. As Saturday dawned the Cardinals had won 3 in a row. But on this day they gave up home runs to Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez. The Cardinals were in a 2-run hole, down 6-4 in the last of the 9th and facing Brandon Morrow. Last year he was the setup man for the Dodgers, and so far he hadn’t given up a run since coming east to Chicago. But on Saturday he couldn’t hold the 6-4 lead. Marcell Ozuna, who the Cardinals claimed from the Marlins hit a two-run double, tying the game at 6 in the 9th. The top of the 10th had its own small drama. The Cardinals’ pitcher Bud Norris left with an undisclosed injury. Tyler Lyons stepped in and collected the win.
Surprisingly, Wong had done this twice before, both before this blog came into being. The last was in May 2015 against the Pirates whom he has twice victimized and sent walking off the field. Of 34 home runs he has, 3 are walk-off blasts, an amazing percentage for what used to be called a “banjo hitter.” Until the computer age it might have been a chore for a team to even find Colton Wong. He was born in Hawaii and played his college baseball at the University of Hawaii. The Cardinals took him in round 1 in 2011 and he had his first try in the bigs just two years later. By May 2014 he was making a permanent place for himself in their lineup and was Rookie of the Month for May 2014. To go along with his 3 walk-off home runs he has a grand slam on his record. He walloped that off veteran James Shields who was then with the Royals. The one walk-off home run Wong hit that I haven’t mentioned may have been the best of any of his. He won game 2 of the 2014 NLCS against the Giants that way. The Cardinals have 4 postseason walk-off home runs in their long and rich history. Ozzie Smith was first in 1985, then Jim Edmonds in 2004 and lastly David Freese in an astonishing game during the 2011 World Series.0