Sunday night is my least favorite night of the week. It's a school night, but my sleeping pattern has usually already shifted up about four hours since Friday. If I go to bed too early, I'll toss and turn. If I stay up too late, I'll be miserable in the morning.
I hate it when the Sox play on Sunday nights. The game starts too late on ESPN, and then there's the whole Joe Morgan problem.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, even with the bases loaded, this was a Sunday-night kind of game. The score was still a taut 2-1, but things had slowed considerably with an intentional walk to Youkilis and with JD Drew at the plate, taking pitch after pitch.
As the Yankees bullpen stirred to life, things took on a sleepy kind of feeling, at least for the moment. A pitch. A cutaway to the bullpen. A lot of throat-clearing and scratching. Endless blather from the broadcast booth. Another pitch.
One of the best things about baseball - the thing people who say it's boring don't get - is the way this ho-hum kind of moment turns on a dime, explodes into a moment of blinding excitement, crowd roaring, play-by-play announcer hollering. Tonight, even Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada had been lulled by the routine nature of the Youkilis and Drew at-bats, it seemed - neither noticed as Jacoby Ellsbury suddenly broke into a run from midway down the third-base line.
There was no radar gun on the pitch Pettitte threw home; his last measured pitch was 83 miles per hour. So for the purposes of this discussion, let's assume Jacoby is at least faster than that.
None of ESPN's many cameras picked up Ellsbury's run - he simply dived into frame, belly-flopping across the plate in front of Posada's tag and the stunned Drew in a splash of dirt, then leapt up and trotted toward the dugout, where a wan Terry Francona stood applauding, somewhat weakly.
"You know Francona gave Ellsbury the Lou Brown speech," someone Tweeted. "Nice play Jacoby, don't ever $@!$? do it again."
JD still stood at the plate; Pettitte stared, jaw slack, at his catcher. Eventually Pettitte snarled something toward the plate - it seemed to be "Come on!"
But Pettitte's call to move on went unheeded, while fans acknowledged Ellsbury. He took a curtain call and then high-fived teammates in the dugout, grinning a brilliant grin that surely made thousands of hearts flutter throughout New England (I'll admit even mine did a little flip at that smile, even though he's generally not my type).
One of the other best things about baseball is how often one of these sudden-explosion moments is also just a little sliver of history, one of innumerable statistics that are comet-like in their rarity. We may not see this again, at least not until we are quite a bit older; Ellsbury's steal of home was the first for the Sox in a decade.