The Three Most Miserable Games of My Career

The Cardinals fell hard to the Chicago Cubs 17-5 on Monday night. Tyler Lyons had a miserable day at the ballpark, giving up nine earned runs in four innings of work. Veteran lefty Randy Choate kept pace, allowing six earned runs while failing to finish an inning.

Watching this game got me to thinking about the worst performances of my career. As many of you who had the opportunity to watch me pitch know, that’s a long list. Still, I narrowed it down to three especially painful outings.

June 12, 2007

Brad Thompson on the mound in a game at Busch Stadium

I’m starting against the Kansas City Royals in KC. Final pitching line: 4 1/3 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0K. I honestly can’t tell you exactly what happened throughout this game. I’m guessing sinkers that didn’t sink and backing up a lot of bases. The most memorable part of that day was an interview afterward that has haunted me ever since. A reporter asked me (on television, mind you), “Brad, where do you go from here?” Now, the smart answer would have been something like, “I just need to keep battling and make better pitches.” Simple, to the point. Instead I went with, “I don’t know, maybe go find a puppy to kick.” Genius. The public relations crew worked overtime that night.

May 30, 2010

Pitching in Boston as a member of the Kansas City Royals. This was my first time ever playing at Fenway. I didn’t pitch in the first couple of games in the series, and I was just enjoying taking in the history of the ballpark. Great energy, passionate fans. Just a cool place to play. Unless you’re me. Final pitching line: 1 2/3 IP, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1K. This outing ended with a David Ortiz blast to center that still hasn’t landed. Not a fun day at the office. I remember storming up to the clubhouse, punching things along the way and finally resting in front of my locker, where I punched myself so hard that I blacked out for a second. I had issues.

Pretty sure I blacked out the date, 2013

Playing in my second year of independent baseball in the Atlantic League as a member of the Somerset Patriots, I was squaring off against my former team: the Bridgeport Bluefish. I gave up 11 runs in the first inning. Eleven! Singles, doubles, home runs – Oh, my! I was awful. I couldn’t even catch a break. I remember having a tailor-made double-play ball to the shortstop that caromed off the umpire instead. But, as I always say, “If you don’t like it, pitch better!” After finally escaping the first, I had a tough decision to make. The tunnel to go back to the clubhouse was right next to the steps to the dugout. I honestly didn’t know which I was going to choose until I was halfway there. At least I got through six innings without allowing another run!

Baseball, like any other job, has its good days and its bad ones. I guess it takes the bad days to appreciate the good ones – or at least that’s what I told myself all the time. As one of my favorite teammates ever, Cal Eldred, told me, “When you stop giving up runs it means you aren’t playing anymore.”

I haven’t given up a run in over a year.