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Snell: “I was pitching game of my life that night”

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Snell remembers all the feelings and emotions stemming from being pulled in Game 6 of last year’s World Series.

MLB: World Series-Tampa Bay Rays at Los Angeles Dodgers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In game six of the 2020 World Series, Blake Snell was wheeling-and-dealing on the mound for the Rays who were holding on to a 1-0 lead over the Dodgers. But for a reason that still evades Snell and everyone else who was watching that game, the hot-handed pitcher was pulled from the game for Nick Anderson. Anderson would then go on to allow the Dodgers to score two runs, throwing just 12 pitches before being pulled with haste.

In a new article written by Snell for The Player’s Tribune, the 28-year old looks back on the moment with a loathing about what could have been had he been allowed to continue pitching.

“First off, I don’t think I’m bragging or exaggerating or whatever in saying that I was dealing in that game,” Snell said. “I mean, I was on. I just was. Anyone who watches baseball will tell you that. I was pitching the game of my life that night.”

At the time he was pulled, Snell had pitched 5 13 innings, allowing two hits, an earned run, and had nine strikeouts. So he wasn’t exactly wrong.

But it was the sight of his teammate warming up in the bullpen at the start of the sixth inning that completely threw Snell out of his zone.

His brain was racked with uncertainties.

“In my head I’m like, Man, I’m making history out here. I’ve never been this good against such a great team. Why is this man warming up right now?”

“Damn, I’m really about to be taken out of this game. This is really happening.”

“In a split second, that’s all I’m thinking about. I can’t help it. I’m no longer thinking about how I’m going to start off A.J. Pollock that inning, or what I know Mookie (Betts) will be looking for when he comes up. None of that.”

“Now I’m thinking about how I’m about to get pulled from the biggest game of my life.”

The Dodgers went on to win the game and the World Series. Snell is now forced to look back on that moment with a plethora of “what-ifs” and wonder what could have been had his coaches allowed him to stay out there.

He still harbors no ill-will towards manager Kevin Cash and notes that he believes the decision was made with the thought that it was the right thing to do in the moment. He knows Cash will have to live with the same thoughts and emotions about the moment that he does.

Snell goes on to discuss the ramifications of the decision and the effect it had on his father, who bawled to his son later that night on a FaceTime call at the team hotel. Snell had never seen his father cry before in his life, but this moment was just too big for his old man to handle. The chance to watch his son make history and potentially will his team to game seven of the World Series was ripped away from him.

The article is extremely well-written and an excellent read for any baseball fan who wants an inside, emotional look at one of the most-infamous moment from this past season.

Of course for Padres fans, it’s also an intimate first impression of a player that will be donning the brown and gold for the first time in 2021 and hopefully for a good while after that.

Go ahead and give it a read and feel free to discuss your thoughts on it in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you guys think.