Shortly after the Phillies tied last night’s Sunday Night Baseball game — and right after Francisco Rodriguez got Raul Ibanez to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the eighth inning — ESPN’s Dan Shulman made the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed, that the president would be addressing the nation shortly, and that for further details, viewers could switch over to ABC.
And so there’s a pretty good chance you turned off the game at this point and missed the ninth inning, and maybe the tenth and eleventh and all the way up to the fourteenth as well. But you also missed this: The scene inside Citizens Bank Park as news began to spread and chants of “USA, USA” began to fill the stadium. (No announcement was made at the stadium, but the kids nowadays have these things called cell phones.) Poor Daniel Murphy, who was at the plate while the chants were going on, apparently had no idea what was going on.
So yeah, that’s a pretty memorable night at the ballpark. The game, which after the eighth inning didn’t feel quite as significant, what with the gigantic news bulletin and all, turned out to be a pretty great one: After Chris Young tossed seven innings of two-hit ball, and after the Phillies tied the score in that eighth inning, the game kept going and going, all the way to the fourteenth inning, when Ronny Paulino’s double — his fifth hit of the night — put the Mets ahead, 2–1. But last night, obviously, wasn’t about Ronny Paulino. It’s about the bin Laden news, and the reaction to it. Last night — or, at least, last night after the eighth inning — the Mets-Phillies rivalry (or non-rivalry, or whatever) was overshadowed by something much, much bigger.