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"That (Mariano) Rivera guy, we don't need to face him anymore. He needs to pitch at a higher level, ban him from baseball. He should be illegal."
- Twins Manager Tom Kelly, April 28, 1996

Speaking of illegal, I'd say it's a safe bet that someone should keep eye on K-Rod for the next day or two, because I wouldn't be surprised if some Santiago-like Code Red is ordered on Castillo.

More illegal activity includes the egregious rejection of anything that could possibly be construed as intelligent sports commentary, streaming from the ESPN booth.

I don’t know what exactly it is about the Mets that makes them such a joke, that jenny say qua [sic] that gives them their inimitable breed of Mets-ness. But it’s almost like it’s inescapable sometimes. I mean, the Yanks put WANG on the mound. They gave Wang something that has eluded him for the entire first half of the season.

And as much as I’d like to think that maybe Wang is improving, I think if he was pitted up against most other teams, he’d discover the standard “Sinker Ball? More lke DING-er ball!” treatment.

And I say this because watching him pitch last night, I saw little (if any) difference in his pitch movements. I DID see the predictable lack of control, evidenced by 3 BB and 1 hit batter in the first 3 innings.

See, I know everyone’s gonna make a big deal out of Wang’s alleged slow but steady return to form, but it’s a little too much like the prodigal son to me. Who cares if he can go a touch beyond 5 innings, and only let up 2 runs? Shouldn’t it be telling the powers that be something that we’re getting excited over a season-high 5 1/3 innings, with his ERA ALMOST in single digits? And against the Mets? Who look like they don’t have enough coordination to execute a high-five?

All things considered, the Mets got off easy. If it weren’t for Mo’s historical moment(s), there’d be a lot more negative attention paid to the Mutts, instead of showering the Yankees with glorifying praise. They owe Mo some thanks for that, because if not for his RBI walk and 500th career save, we’d likely be seeing Castillo’s sheepish mug plastered across every NY paper, instead of Mo’s million dollar smile.

And when you saw Mo after the game with his teammates, beaming and hugging everyone, you couldn’t help but think that this day couldn’t have happened to a better guy. I fall in love with him a little bit more every time I see him play and especially when I see his post-win interviews. He’s the reason I love the Yankees, and the reason I am hypersensitive to antics characteristic of the Red Sux. He's exactly the type of athlete I'd aspire to be, if I was aspiring to be an athlete. But his attitude towards the game, his work ethic, his class, and commitment are all traits of a person I'd want to emulate. He handles himself more nobly and gracefully than any other player I've ever seen, in any sport.

He has the perfected the unduly admirable skill of the proverbial cliche: "Act like you've been there before"--a critique bestowed upon endzone dancers and dramatic fistpumpers and generic showboaters. He is the best of the best, untouchable and incomparable, and his demeanor is stunningly humble and understated.

In the postgame interview with the Trifecta of Imbeciles lolling around in the ESPN booth, Mo manages to make heads/tails of their inane questioning. (So multi-talented!)

"So is this a big deal? Is it exciting?"

Mo: "I hate you." (Actually, "It definitely is." I swear to God, out of everything this legend did last night, the most impressive might have been talking to Phillips/Morgan/Miller for longer than a minute without pointing out that they have as much value to society as asbestos, with a combined IQ on par with a giraffe goldfish.)

And at the same time, he has an unerring competitive impetus that's defined his excellence since his first save on May 17, 1996. (That day in history might be the best the Yanks know.)

They were talking about Mo's recent at-bat against Atlanta where he lined out to left center, and apparently Girardi had instructed him not to swing.

And when that opportunity presented itself on Wednesday, Rivera jammed on a borrowed batting helmet and listened to explicit instructions from the bench not to swing. The 39-year-old closer nodded his head, promising that he wouldn't swing.

But Rivera knew that, in the final years of his Major League career, this at-bat in the final inning of an 8-4 Yankees victory over the Braves would probably be his last. So Rivera broke that promise, putting a solid cut on reliever Manny Acosta's 0-1 fastball and lining out to center fielder Nate McLouth.

"I've got to take a swing," Rivera said. "I apologized to my pitching coach and manager, but I had to do it."

Well, yes, Mo. I agree. With 2 outs, you do have to swing. I suppose with an 8-4 lead, you got a little breathing room, and technically you could just take the out and leave the bases loaded. But then, what’s the point of even coming to the plate at all? In co-ed softball leagues, if a guy gets walked on 4 straight balls and has a girl hitting after him, the chick automatically gets a base.

But what fun is that? Swing away, Mo. Girardi’s decisions regarding, well, pretty much everything, had been nothing short of utterly baffling. Watching his managerial moves and buying into his coaching wisdom seems to me like putting your faith in a hammered buddy’s ramblings because he keeps saying, “No, seriously. I’m not even drunk.”

So how exactly does it get more comical than the way it unfolded? The only reason Mo got to bat at all was because Posada (or Cano, according to Jon Miller), hit one of his trademark bloop popups that somehow manages to move often than not elude the infield/outfield. And it's exacerbated because you're playing the Mets who I'm pretty sure have a copyright on the 3-fielders-colliding-on-routine-popup move, which Hollywood later bought the rights to and have applied it to every baseball movie montage ever.

Castillo does his trademark move, which is give K-Rod more and more legit homicide motives. And then soon thereafter, we get another hilarious segment when the Yankees try to "trick" the Mets into thinking Cervelli (and not Mo) is batting after Jeter. It was the most personable I'd ever really seen Jeter, when--after getting a first pitch strike--gives this look like, "Umm, ok. You, uh, know who you're facing next, right? Just checking."

Fantastic. Great comedic timing especially from someone who has residual flu symptoms. I don't crack a smile when I'm sick, let alone make awesome funny faces like this one.

But really, the game's oddities just kept coming. The Yanks didn't get a hit after the first inning, and didn't score again til Mo's RBI in the 9th. But despite their lack of hits, they were definitely seeing some OBP, with the Mets issuing a cool 11 BBs. Ridiculous.

The US Soccer team should send the Amazins a nice gift basket with cured meats and sesame crackers, to thank them for diluting the embarrassment of forfeiting a 2-goal lead on Brazil. Because as bad as that is, nothing trumps one of the best closers in the game walking THE best closer in the game.

Just as baseball needs the Yankees to be their universally loathed Evil Empire, baseball needs the Mutts for their universally embraced follies.


  1. Matt said...
    Giraffes are fairly intelligent animals. I think you may be selling the species short by comparing the collective intelligence of the three stooges to that of a giraffe.
    Crazy Yankee Chick said...
    Ha, all my information about giraffes has been extrapolated from Family Guy I think. At the risk of insulting any of them, I've revised...thanks for the heads up. I hate ESPN. I think I started to lose consciousness around the time when they went off on a tangent about BA with putting balls in play.
    Matt said...
    I was actually impressed that a head-in-the-sand dinosaur like JoeMo would even refer to a "computer" stat like BABIP.

    I could almost picture the ESPN producer standing in the booth with a gun to Morgan's head. "We have Nate Silver working for us now damnit! You've got to talk about some of this stuff".
    Jeff said...
    Crazy Yankee Chick said...
    No matter what Joe Morgan says, (and it could be the most stunningly intelligent lucid thing in the world), I'm never gonna be able to get past the fact that he sounds exactly like Cleveland Brown.

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