A man finds room in the few square inches of his face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants.~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today was a day for magnificent facial expressions...
First, there was Pedro when Manny, galloping across the left-center grass, snagged the ball backhanded with his back to the infield, and bounced off the wall with the resiliency of a toddler learning to walk. Pedro, watching, at first wore a look of "oh, shit", which then melted, magically, sweetly, into a smile of relief. A split-second later, Pedro would bend at the knees and point one index finger and one gloved left hand out toward Manny, his nose wrinkling in amusement, but it was that one fine moment, that one perfect transition between, "oh, shit!" and "Gracias, mi amigo," that set it apart from the usual goofiness.
Then there was Tek, resembling the calmly furious Russell Crowe in Gladiator as he rounded the bases after launching quite possibly the most ridiculous home run I've ever witnessed. The ball looked like a pop-fly, except it went over the Monster. Ridiculous.
And what about Ortizzle as his brow darkened, his teeth bared, his brow furrowed, staring out at Lily after being hit on the hand? Wouldn't want to meet that in a dark alley...or on a well-lit baseball field, for that matter.
John Gibbons, the Toronto manager (and erstwhile first-base coach during the short-lived reign this season of Carlos Tosca), had a face drawn in angry slashes as he ran off a motor-mouthed string of curses towards the umpire in the late innings. Ted Lily and the rest of the Toronto infield, meanwhile, looked increasingly like an ad for Pepto Bismol--the "before" segment.
Meanwhile, why does Dale Sveum like his ears so much? He's always picking at them, tugging them, itching them...does the man have earwigs? And yet his is another of the many faces of the night. More directly, the strain of the game's final moments was captured in Sveum's eyes. Noted Steve Brady, on our new message board, "Cabrera took a long look at Sveum before that. Was the sign 'win the game?'"
After leaving Cabrera's bat, the ball grabbed some wall, then caromed crazily off the left-field scoreboard. Sveum windmilled, all the panic of the situation summed up in the bead of sweat that fell from his brow as Johnny Damon, departing from second base, flashed past him to plate the winning run.
As one of the Surviving Grady boys observed:
Watch the re-play of Damon chugging around third and I'll swear at one point as the throw comes in Sveum looks on the verge of fainting. If he'd blown this one, the crowds would have jumped the stands and eaten his heart.
But the king of all the faces tonight came, finally, in the form of the sun-bright relief on Orlando Cabrera's face, a wide grin that showed both top and bottom teeth. It was one of those completely uncontrollable cracks into giggling that afflicts only the newly freed.
The newly-reborn Cabrera said some things as the lingering fans hollered out "Tessie" behind him, and as Eric Frede caught the joyful contagion, but it was lost in that face. Lost in that smile.