Game on, puzzle friends, starting with the theme! There are six two-word theme answers that each end with a judgement as to the status of a pitch or play commonly rendered by umpires in baseball games, all summed up by the revealer CLOSECALL. For example, 51A: "Attack from the sky" is AIRSTRIKE and 35D: "Vacationer's container for valuables is HOTELSAFE. I particularly enjoyed 25A. "Spilling a drink or eating all the guacamole, say" (PARTYFOUL), which, for some reason, reminds me to mention FUNSPONGE (One who sucks the joy out the room) in Saturday's puzzle. Ha!
Other athletic support in the puzzle included ESPN, TEE, NHLTEAM, REF, and ERRORS.
Fill-wise I liked CADENCE, VEST, SPIFFUP, STEALTH, and TACIT. Also, I love NAAN. Best bread EVER. Better than Ezra in two ways. One, because it is, and two, because Ezra wasn't the correct answer.
I was amused to note that the puzzle contains both SEAU and ESAU, one a 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker, and the other mentioned more than 70 times in Genesis. The same, but different. And speaking of Genesis, how about the clue in Sunday's puzzle, 55A: First character in Genesis? I tried to jam "gamma" in there, but I was thrown by another curve ball. The answer was SOFTG. Rho!
I won't cry foul, but I was not a fan of IHOPE for 52D: "If there's any justice!" The clue-answer pair lacks the parallelism that I value.
Let us not say ADIEU, mes amis, but à demain!