Unwritten Rule in Berdoo for players: Never, ever disrespect the game on the field in our park because we will FUCK YOU UP. You are in A ball, not in The Show. You are not good to think you are bigger than the game, and if you do it here, you will forever remember our names. This goes back to Fiscalin Field, long before San Manuel Stadium. Berdoo might be a shithole, but it is SERIOUS baseball town. The Little League Western Regionals are in this town. Come in here disrespecting the game, and you will get a lesson.
In the top of the sixth inning, Brandon Jacobs of the Rawhide jumped in the home plate ump’s face about a called Strike Three that was right down the cock. Nothing Night had been turning RAUCOUS up until then, but Jacobs’ crybaby antics took things to a new level. As Jacobs sulked to the dugout, about 2500 fans jumped his shit. Jacobs was obviously taken aback, but then gestured to the crowd.
Bad move, Brandon. Bad, bad move.
There are two ABSOLUTE TRUTHS in the city of San Bernardino:
1. Give a hobo a Subway Sandwich, and he will try to sell it for meth.
2: Gesture to a 66ers crowd, and you will lose a piece of your soul.
Jacobs was immediately crushed by ire from the crowd. This is A ball, dammit, and no one here has paid their dues long enough to show up an ump. Jacobs responded by smashing his battling helmet into two pieces on the bench, drawing more catcalls. However, since it was Nothing Night, and there was no scoreboard, no one in the stands knew his name. Thanks to the 4G Network, the entire crowd soon Brandon Jacobs was the asshat behaving poorly.
Perhaps the violent reaction of the crowd scared the 66ers ‘relief pitcher. Or perhaps he just sucks. Five runs later, Berdoo was down 5-2 The crowd really didn’t care; their teeth were still firmly locked on Jacobs’ ass.
It has been a shit ass season for the 66ers, but in the next half inning, the 66er fans in attendance fell in love. The 66ers dropped a six spot on the Rawhide with perfect execution of the game coupled with a Wade Hinkle tater.
Look, there is all sorts of feel good bullshit in baseball narrative, but for one night, the 66ers were not about to let their fans down for one half inning. And the fans responded. Jacobs was forgotten for the moment as genuine affection showered down on the players. During the exciting rally, both fans and players were feeding off the vibrant energy of the NOW. The Rawhide players, used to playing in tiny stadium (2500 capacity) filled with cowbells, were visibly stunned by what was transpiring. Spoiler Alert: They never recovered.
After the inning ended with the 66ers back in the lead, the fans’ attention returned to Brandon Jacobs, who was up third in the inning. By this time, aided by the smart phones, certain fans had the goods on Jacobs. They knew that he had once been a rising prospect in Low A with the Red Sox organization, then began flaming out in AA, so was traded to the White Sox for Matt Thornton. They knew he was going the wrong way on the prospect ladder, and was struggling in his return to A ball, hitting under .230 while fanning three times more than he walks. Most fans didn’t know this; however, they just knew he shown up an umpire.
Often, the fans unloading on the opposition can be ugly – bad hecklers with alcohol involved equals bad results. But tonight, BEHOLD THE HURRICANE. As soon as Jacobs put on his batting helmet, the falsettos started:
Brandon, we are watching you. You have been a naughty boy.
Brandon, we see you. You have to face us.
Brandon, God called. He wants your soul back.
By time Jacobs stepped into the on deck circle after the leadoff batter was retired, the crowd was LOUD. Gone were the falsettos, replaced with deep shouts. Even the Righteous Stoics were being vocal – apparently, a smashed batting helmet allows those guys to feel alive. Or perhaps we really had reached the Pastoral Age, and they were in Nirvana.
After the second batter was retired, the “Brandon” chant started, not softly but loudly. Sure, this derisive chant has grown stale in Major League stadiums, usually an emotionless exercise started by someone who lacks creativity. In the minors, however, the lack of creativity is dwarfed by passion. For a player to receive a name chant, he must have really pissed off the fans in attendance, plus it is probably the first time in the player’s life that he has been targeted like this, a far cry from the handjobs received prom queen in high school.
When Jacobs whiffed on the first pitch, parts of the crowd were on their feet as the “Brandon” chant resumed. When Jacobs swung for the fence on the second pitch and connected with nothing, the crowd knew it was going to win this battle, and the intensity of the chant increased, along with some well timed solo shots about Jacob’s career status. The third pitch was a borderline pitch on the outside corner, which the umpire called a ball. For a moment, all fury switched to the umpire, but the fans quickly refocused on Jacobs, who weakly fouled off the fourth pitch.
The next pitch almost sailed over the catcher’s glove, and it appeared that perhaps the pressure was switching to the pitcher, Michael Smith. “Throw him the heater, Rickey!” someone yelled, which just never gets old. Smith did just that, blowing by Jacobs for strike three to end the inning. Someone in 66er management, probably GM Joe, made the perfect executive decision and declared that Jacobs had been the Double Secret Beer Batter. The rush to the beer lines was on, and every 66er employee was helped pour beer in the concession lines.
Good times. Good times.
The 66er players continued to please the fans in the bottom of the eighth, adding another four runs, including a three run blast by Wade Hinkle. By this time, the celebration was going full bore. There was still some unfinished business in the top of the ninth; however. Would Brandon Jacobs make it to the plate again? Thanks to a hit and a HBP, Jacobs came to the plate with two outs and two on, and it all started again. Jacobs flew out to right to end the game, and the crowd roared, feeling JUSTICE had been dispensed. Whether Jacobs learned a lesson or not is up to him, but now the fans had more important things to worry about, like high fiving each other and free tacos.