I firmly believe that emotions play a huge role in all sports, however I also believe that outsiders have no idea what role these emotions are playing. Helping or hindering, only someone part of the inner circle can really know and for the most part I'll leave that analysis to the players, coaches, managers, and general managers.
What I can speak off with some authority is how my own emotional state as a fan is affected by the this great game called baseball. Over 162 games even in the most dismal of season you will have highlights you will always remember. Last night was such a moment.
Big Jon Broxton has a history as being one of the most unlucky pitchers to ever toe the Dodger mound. Before his meltdown in the 2nd half of 2010, it seemed when Big Jon blew a save it was at the mercy of bloop singles, dribbles, bad defense, and bad umpiring. When things started going south for Jon every hard hit ball found a hole or a gap, sometimes even the bleachers. I'm not the biggest fan of this Big Jon, I'm more a Kuo guy but I do feel that with some normal luck he wouldn't have the reputation he currently has.
Nonetheless as a fan I have zero confidence that this current iteration of Broxton can handle a save unless he has a a minimum of a two run lead. When Big Jon took the mound with a two run lead against the most dismal offense anyone has seen since the second half Dodgers of 2010, I thought he might finally cruise to a an easy save.
Two easy outs later it looked like that thought would come true. Then single, single, single and before you blink the score was 3 - 2 with runners on 1st and 3rd. My mind was already made up to accept a loss or at minimum extra innings.
The best emotion is the one you are not prepared for, last night as the ball soared over the infield the pit was back in my stomach, only to have it jettisoned to the netherworld as Tony Gwynn left his feet to make a catch that saved his embattled pitcher, the Dodgers, and my season.
This one game is not going to save the Dodgers, it may help Broxton, since for once he got help from his defense, but it sure made me more interested in this season.
Thank you Tony.