Marty Brennman takes the Reds broadcast to a very dark place

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Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley were doing the old Twitter question mailbag during a Reds game the other night and someone asked Marty what his greatest fear was.

Kind of a cool question. Certainly better than “who should the Reds trade for” or something. You figure Marty would go with “spiders” or “crowded elevators” or something. Instead, he gets real. Like, almost too real:

You have to tip you hat to Marty for being 100% honest — you can tell he thinks about this, maybe a lot — but I have never in my life been more thankful for Jeff Brantley being around to lighten the mood in my life. I’m just trying to think how he could top it.

“Well, Jeff, I often think of how bad it would be to be buried alive — Votto takes the 2-2 pitch up and in and the count is full — buried alive the way Uma Thurman was in ‘Kill Bill 2.’ Meeting eternity clawing and scratching at the inside of a pine box, screaming in vain. Votto takes ball four high and that’ll bring up Jay Bruce. Awareness of one’s imminent death, I feel anyway, may be life’s greatest possible horror. A horror we all must meet, but some of us, mercifully, unwittingly.

“Bruce is 6 for 20 lifetime against Garcia . . .”

(h/t to Deadspin)

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.