"Everyone in Boston is disgusting": http://www.theonion.com/articles/red-sox-sell-out-of-commemorative-collapse-2011-ha,26212/
This is what you get for joining Boston, Carl Crawford. I thought we had something special. You are an embarrassment. It's sad. I feel a high schooler who just realized she's been pining away for a total loser for so long, and he's not worthy of her adoration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0FoSmMUEL4
God, this is funny. And yet also so scary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QijpwREKwus
To be clear, the Yankees are saying hello to the Post Season. The Red Sox are saying goodbye to their remaining fibers of dignity, as well as the regular season of baseball. I hate the first day of the offseason. That must be so asphyxiatingly horrible for fans right now.
I would at least try to be sympathetic (maybe) if they didn't spend all their free time being like little bombs on a minesweeper game, that I invariably run into when I'm just trying to go about my day.
Days that already painful enough as is, so maybe I'm being extra irritable and insidiously gleeful about this collapse. For the last week, I've been "sleeping" in the office. I put that in quotes, because sometimes I didn't even get the luxury of curling up in the armchair and wrapping myself in the Yankees fleece blanket I got for free when I signed up for a credit card outside of Yankee Stadium one time.
HOWEVAH, there is NOTHING on God's green earth, no amount of work, NOTHING, that is going to prevent me from inking a post on last night, the night that everyone can point to one day as the Reason Baseball is America's Pasttime.
Where to begin?
Maybe this would be a good place to start. Let's go back to 2007. The following is an article I wrote after the Mets blew like a 9899 game lead, consequently ushering the Phillies into the playoffs.
“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways: gradually, and then suddenly.”
-Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises
Thank you, Queens.
Thank you for doing the impossible.
Thank you for flooding the headlines and monopolizing the morning news.
Thank you for securing your own special spot in history and diluting ours.
Thank for liberating us from the stigma that has been emblazoned on our psyches since October 21, 2004.
And mostly, thank you for finally disencumbering us from the toxic ownership of “the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history.”
I know how you feel.
But I also know how Yankees fans felt for the past 159 days, subjected to all these hopped-up Mets fans spitting vitriol at the seemingly hapless Yankees. If I hadn’t had to listen to the unprovoked jeering and ribbing issued by cocky Mets fans for three-quarters of the season, I would let sleeping mutts lie. But the fact is, they poked at us with giant foam Number #1 hands, while we hoped against hope the whole “Just you wait til after the All-Star break!” battle cry wouldn’t be in vain.
So while my sympathy for the Mets and their fans is marginal at best, I still owe them gratitude for doing what I didn’t think would ever happen in my lifetime. They lifted the cross Yankees fans have been bearing since 2004. And while so many will still try to strap it back on us, insisting our choke was worse, it’s a moot point.
When it comes down to it, I’d take the disgrace of the 2004 ALCS Yankees collapse in a heartbeat over the 2007 Mets debacle. In a heartbeat.
Witnessing the Mets collapse unavoidably brought back flashes of 2004, and as painful as it’s been for the last 3 years to even think about that time, I couldn’t look away. On Sunday afternoon, the pull of the proverbial car wreck proved stronger than the need to stay on top of my football bets and fantasy players. From the second my mom called and spurted, “Turn off the Jets and put on the Mets ASAP. You gotta see this,” I was mesmerized.
I watched as New York Mets fans experienced the unbridled hell of not only saying goodbye to their season, but having to do so in the face of a cataclysmic choke. At home. After being in first place since May 15, for 75% of the regular season. While the Phillies, THE PHILLIES, celebrated their new division title less than 100 miles away.
By the 6th inning of the game, the announcers had launched into the unnerving and foreboding countdown no fan on the brink of season termination ever needs to hear: “They’re now __ strikes/outs away from the end.” By then, the camera men had completely lost interest in the game in favor of capturing the faces of utter devastation lining Shea. The lights-out, too-little-too-late, 13K, 1-run plugging job from the Mets’ bullpen meant nothing to a long-muted stadium.
As I stayed glued to the TV and continued to ignore the Yankees last regular season game and the flurry of football action, I had to wonder how this could really be the end to the Mets’ dominant season. I had to wonder if the baffling brawl on the previous night hadn’t happened, if the Mets would have been playing a less incensed Marlins team. And I had to wonder if this really could, in fact, usurp the title as Worst Choke Ever. Did the Mets really have it in them?
Turns out they did.
Yankee-haters will purport til they’re blue in the face that the Bronx Bombers still retain the rights to this dubious distinction, but as far as I’m concerned, the curse has been lifted. Not just because I want an excuse to escape the harrowing monkey on our backs, but because, after weighing all the evidence, I realized a few things:
1.) The Mets were the favorite.
The Yankees headed into the ALCS as the underdog. We were never the favorite to win, unlike the heavily favored Mets. This is why, among many other reasons, that the Mets will never be “New York’s Team.” They just don’t know how to reign because they’re too uncomfortable at the top.
It’s like in “Teen Wolf” when nobody-high-schooler Scott Howard becomes a supernova with his werewolf alter-ego. He’s flying high on life and leaving his old second-tier buddies in the dust, until he gets too uneasy in his sovereign role. So he opts to shed it all at once, losing the hot blond cheerleader, the lead in the play, and all the other special perks that come with the ability to grow a pelt and fangs at will.
Like the teen wolf, the Mets don’t seem to feel at home at the top. They just don’t know how to be a juggernaut (unless their roster is built of juvie hall alums, a la 1986.) Their very nature can’t accommodate dominance and power, so they revert to the anemic, torpid National Leaguers who are as threatening as an acorn.
2.) The odds were staggering.
The odds of the Yankees losing with a 3-0 lead on the Sox were roughly 19 to 1. Which, by my count, is less than the 500 to 1 odds of the Mets blowing a 7 game lead with 17 games left to play. We lost 4 games in a 7-game set playing one team. The Mets played 4 different clubs during their collapse, some of which were barely hanging off the bottom of the standings. The Sox had the same chance of a 4-game comeback as I have buying a scratch-off card and winning a buck on it. The Mets had the same chance of disintegrating as there is of an asteroid attacking the earth within the next 25 years.
3.) They relinquished the title–no one stole it.
If I dated a guy who cheated on me and ultimately left me for another woman, I’d be hurt and angry and embarrassed. But if I found out years later that he ended up marrying this woman, I’d realize that, hey, it obviously was meant to be. The Sox killed us and then finally got their damn WS ring. It was their year, and 2004 was more a testament to their talent and resilience, from the ALCS comeback to the MACH3-speed World Series set. The Yankees were just a casualty along the way.
The Phillies weren’t surging ahead or going on 8-game winning streaks. While I give the Phils credit for seeing an opening and jumping at it, they didn’t win the division as much as the Mets lost it. In their final 17 days, the Mets were outscored 115-98, left 141 runners on base (an average of 8.3 per game), and made 21 errors, with the “best shortstop in NY” sporting a hefty .187 BA. These gems are egregiously more glaring then the stats streaming from Utley, Rollins, and Howard.
The Mets have no one to blame but themselves.
4.) Both the fans and the team took the arrogance too far.
The Yankees themselves aren’t arrogant, and if they are, they’re smart about hiding it. They don’t run their mouths off. They don’t showboat. Yankee fans, yes. But as Stinger tells Maverick in Top Gun, “Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” Yankee checks don’t bounce because we got 26 rings in the bank.
The Mets were cocky jackasses all season. Delgado even said, “We have so much talent on the team, sometimes it gets boring to play.” (What does this even mean? Why would it be boring to play with a skilled club?) I’m thinking now that his aforementioned boredom is nothing compared to having your October schedule prematurely cleared for you.
Their fans were just as bad, if not worse. All year I had to listen to those manic imbeciles clucking about the messy state of the Yankees. Every kind of fan has had their turn in telling me the Yanks suck, but it NEVER bothers me as much as when it comes from a Met fan. If for no other reason, the fact they’re in the freaking National League! It’d be like Squints Palledorous giving A-rod batting tips. Know your role, Mutts.
5.) The Yankees made the playoffs.
I got to see the Yanks clinch the division on the final home game of the season with a Bernie Williams walk-off in a comeback win. I watched them come back from getting shut down by Santana in Game 1 to win the next 3 games in the ALDS. I watched them take down the Sox in 3 consecutive games, and then watched 3 more amazing ball games before the gut-wrenching Game 7.
Unless your team finishes with a World Series Championship, the end of the season is devastating, whether it ends in a dramatic implosion or an anticlimactic fizzle. There are few things I hate more than the prevailing emptiness that defines Day 1 of the offseason. I remember going to Game 7 of the NLCS last year and being crazy jealous of all the Mets fans: they were watching their team chase a championship. Yankee fans were watching the new Fox fall lineup.
See, the only thing worse than the season ending is having to watch other teams still play on. Baseball season only lasted 4 days beyond our collapse. Mets fans have to suffer through another month of this. It’s like trying to pull off some inane Senior Prank, getting caught, being put on probation for the rest of the year, and then having to watch all your friends go to prom and graduation and engage in all the other Dazed and Confused-esque end-of-year hijinx, while you rot away in solitary confinement/detention.
6.) They fell from 159 days of superiority.
Our fall was much shorter. There was one day when we thought we were a lock for the World Series. ONE. DAY. The time from the 19-8 rout in ALCS Game 3, to the final moments of the 12-inning, 4+ hours-long Game 4, when a walk-off from Ortiz started extinguishing our spirits while igniting theirs.
The Mets had an entire season of slicing through the NL. No one could come close to catching them, in the standings or on the basepaths. They were flying through the season like Super Mario with star-induced invincibility. Months of hope and excitement and delirious anticipation—killed. Shut down like a weapon-less little Mario in Bowser’s castle.
Similarly, the Yanks’ decline itself only lasted 3 days. It was brutal but swift. We barely saw it coming, and when we did, it was too late. Mets fans had to suffer through an entire month of watching them unravel, of marinating in the fear that they very well may blow the season. Why didn’t Willie Randolph do anything sooner? (My sister’s boyfriend’s theory, “I think he just looked at Torre and thought, `Ok, Torre just sits there and does nothing–seems to work for him! I’m gonna try it.’”)
Those final weeks were slow and agonizing and disturbing. If 2004 was like the bird that flew into Randy Johnson’s fastball during Spring Training, then 2007 is like the squirrel my parents’ 108lb cat drags into the house, renders semi-dead, and then just bats around til the squirrel has been completely stripped of its physical faculties, dignity, and will to survive before ultimately flatlining. Not unlike Glavine, I guess.
And it’s for all these reasons that the 2004 Yankees have passed the scorch of a broken season onto a new generation of chokers. There is, however, one aspect of 2004 that edges out 2007.
Outside of the Bronx, everyone hates the Yankees. The reason that collapse was so powerful and monumental and profoundly tragic was because it was like Bastille Day all over the country. When the Mets lost, a melting pot of emotions emerged, running from amazement to sympathy to vindictive bemusement. There wasn’t quite the same celebratory backlash as there was in 2004:
Ambiguous MLB fan #1: Geez, how bout those Mets, huh?
Ambiguous MLB fan #2: Yeah, I wonder how Long Island Joey is taking it. We should call him!
AMLB1: Nah, I don’t want to rub it in.
AMLB2: Yeah, wait a week. Poor dude.
AMLB1: HOLY CRAP.
AMLB2: I KNOW! Let’s call CYC. Now. And sing “Sweet Caroline” and chant 1918 and “Yankees Suck” in a symphonic medley of hate.
AMLB1: I already did, dude.
AMLB2: Ok, then let’s call again!
AMLB1: I tried. Her mailbox is full.
AMLB1: Wanna try again anyway?
When I woke up this past Monday morning, I thought about Mets fans. I thought back to Friday, October 21, 2004, the morning after I had to leave Yankee Stadium for the last time that year, with the deafening Boston cheers underscoring the Bronx’s misery.
I knew what Mets fans were feeling as they oscillated between calling in sick and pulling themselves together for work. (And even though I had tried to be responsible, my boss had ultimately waved me away after 2 hours in the office: “I don’t know anything about baseball, but I know something bad happened to the Yankees last night. You look like you got hit by a bus, and you look like hell. Just go home.”)
“Just go home.” Those same words have now ushered the Mets out of playoff contention and into the unforgiving and stale offseason. Gradually, and then suddenly.
I know how you feel.
So thank you, Queens, for outdoing yourselves. For throwing the trump card on the year the Evil Empire struck out. You did it, and you should take comfort in the fact that this historic choke gave you something you’ve always wanted:
The Mets finally beat the Yankees.
And now? In 2011...the Red Sox have the dubious distinction of doing something worse than the Mets. I mean, it doesn't get much worse than that. (Sorry, Mets fans.) It's like in the end of "Can't Buy Me Love" when Ronald loses his popularity status, and instead of going back to baseline (dork), he's completely alone. Worse than dork. He's in the company of no one, and the next closest tier is pretty bad.
Damn, bro. He's in Siberia. I know, man. The mutants over there won't even go near him. He went from, like, totally chic to totally geek.He's been banished!So, yeah, and in the words of Al Pacino at the end of "Scent of a Woman"...
OH, I'M JUST GETTING WARMED UP.
To sum up what went down last night in the most simplest of terms, I'm going to defer to ESPN, who is either giddy over this rosetta stone of ridiculous story lines...or catatonic over the collapse of their Red Sux mascots. I don't really care either way, but here's what Buster Olney had to say in recapping terms:
The Yankees hadn't lost a 7-0 lead in the eighth inning or later since 1953, and that's what happened. The Red Sox were undefeated this year when holding leads after the eighth inning, yet they lost. There were four games involving the wild-card races Wednesday, and in three of those, a team came to within one out of victory, and lost. At 11:40 p.m., the Atlanta Braves matched the greatest September collapse in history, and 25 minutes later, the Red Sox set a new standard for September collapses. And Evan Longoria's game-winning homer was merely the second in history that propelled a team into the playoffs, on the last day of the season; the other belongs to Bobby Thomson. Somebody will write a book on baseball's greatest day ever.
I mean, it was head-spinning. I've been feeling pretty ill all day and I can't decide if it's the lack of sleep, the lack of eat, the metaphorical baseball hangover from last night, or the preliminary nausea that takes residence in my gut the very moment the playoffs start (and doesn't check out until the second the playoffs end). I don't know, one of those reasons is contributing to my malaise, but I guess I can't really complain because the bottom line(s) is/are that:
Boston is the proud owner of the worst collapse in baseball history.
Even better, they CANNOT point to the collapse in 2004, because the last team to blow a 3-0 lead in the playoffs...was the Boston Bruins.
And even if they instinctively jump to that "Whatever, we have Tom Brady and you don't. All hail football season!" lame rationalizing, they still have the bitter taste of blowing a game to the Bills last week. A game in which Brady threw 4 INTs.
So, here's some great stuff from the NYTimes. (And that's the last time I'll ever, ever say that sentence again.)
- The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3
- The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play
- The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike
- The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike
I remember the Boston Herald and all the yahoos from Red Sux Nation yelping about how the 2011 team was going to actually trump the 1927 Yankees. (Say one thing about Boston, when they make comparisons, they aim high. I mean, it's really a little indicative of some kind of manic personality disorder.) And I remember this morning, when I came into work to see a slew of emails from coworkers all passing around the cover of the latest Boston Herald.
And I remember just 2 days ago, seeing the new cover of ESPN Magazine. Just like Sports Illustrated has jinxed every cover-future-star, ESPN may be responsible for their precious Beantown Bitches' collapse. Go more overboard, publishers. Good God.
I told Amanda this morning, "Now we have to deal with all the Boston dumbasses saying the Yankees threw the game."
Amanda replies, "Um, we could probably say the same thing about their team."
I'm not saying I thrilled about the playoff situation facing us in about 16 hours. Verlander vs Tubbo.com is exciting at best, and utterly terrifying at worst. So I'm not thinking past the ALDS, as I also remember all too vividly the 2006 ALDS when I was soooo happy the Yanks got the Tiggers instead of the Twinks. Phew! And yeah, then Kenny Rogers almost throws a perfect game to knock us out in 4 games.
So did it matter if the Sux made the playoffs or not? Why were all of us kinda a little bit hoping the Yanks would roll over for the Rays? For me, it was because I hate Boston and I am happy their fans are miserable right now. Not all of them. Evan, Nate, Lee, and a handful of others (if that many) are actually cool people, and not in a "cool for a Sox fan" way, but cool by any standards. So I wasn't happy about that part.
But for the scores of assclowns in NY who walk around with Boston hats and make a big show of being all "What, my team is awesome, f*&# you Skankees"... you know the type... for those dipshits, I feel nothing but smugness. And more importantly, how refreshing is it to know that on Friday night we can watch Game 1 of the playoffs and not have to keep 1 eye on the Red Sox score?
And even better, we don't have to worry about dealing with Boston fans at the bars we watch the game at. Because Boston fans don't have a leg to stand on right now. They make one utterance of a cheer for Detroit, they so much as make one clap against the Yankees...well, it's basically like a fat chick starting a fight with you. They can't get too aggressive and in your face...because at the end of the day, it just takes "You're the biggest chokers in history" or "You're the biggest chick in history" to send them home.
As for the Braves...whatever, I don't care about the National League right now.
In fact, I care about very little right now beyond the playoffs.
I'm starting to get that stomach thing again. It's both wonderful and miserable at the same time.
We live for this--these heartstopping moments we feel most alive.
Welcome to the postseason.
Do work, Yanks. Never save anything for the swim back.
Like I was gonna let a little thing like unruly work hours get in the way of paying homage to my all time favorite Yankee ever. I feel like one of those dudes who has to steal away from shoe shopping with his gf/job interview/his own wedding..to run off and check the status of his fantasy team or something.
Yeah, I want to be able to say that at some point I’ll be able to leave the office on time, and that if I keep plugging away for a few more years, I’ll hit that career nirvana. But every time I think I’m in the clear and I got all the time in the world to reclaim my life and actually follow a game live (or even better, at the game!), the whole NYC cliché of corporate rat racing etc comes into play. (You know that old saying, “No one ever put ‘I wish I spent more time in the office’ on his tombstone”? It’s hard for me to envy that guy BECAUSE HE’S NOT IN THE OFFICE, HE’S ASLEEP.)
Anyways, the point of that delirious rant was more to offer testament to how nothing is going to keep me from putting down a word or two about Mariano Rivera, and then Wednesday afternoon... (Ok, I feel like there should just be a universal rule that "tomorrow" starts when you wake up, not at 12am. I hate when it's like 2am and someone says ok I'll see you tomorrow, and then we have to go through the whole hahaha how hilarious, it IS tomorrow!) Ok so tomorrow I will toss in a few cents about the Red Sux, Tampa, and how I love this time of year. A lot.
So here we go. It’s 4am, which gives me exactly 1.5 hours to cover things. I think I’ve gotten worse under pressure, though. I haven’t hit the last cup in Beirut since like the Reagan administration basically. I'm not entirely sure what the exact number would be, but I'd say pretty galactically high, in terms of the amount of money I'd pay to play a best out of 3 beirut series with Mo. And every time someone was like, "Nah man I'm like the Mariano Rivera of the last cup," he'd get all flustered and have to backpedal and change it to something like "I mean, uh, sorry man. I meant I'm like the uh closing ceremonies emcee of the last cup?"
(You know what I just realized? Another amazing thing about Mo is that he’s sooo iconic that you can use him as the barometer of greatness. Like I love it when someone’s trying to explain something to me—whether it’s politics or cars or healthcare—and the second he or she senses I’m confused, I get “Ok, you know what it’s like? INVANZ is the Mariano Rivera of anti-infectives. Because it’s the most reliable and you use it in life-threatening situations where you need the most powerful gun you got.” How many people in the world can ever say that they’ve been used as the quintessence of awesome? “Oh yeah, she’s like the Crazy Yankee Chick of_____” What? Crazy? Actually, I'm ok with that. Score.)
Mo gets his record breaking save at home, #602, and everyone in the stands are up on their feet, snapping pictures, getting goosebumps (I’d imagine, because I was just watching it on my computer monitor and I STILL was getting all light-headed and choked up just seeing it.) Mo is all smiles after he strikes out the last batter in the bottom of the 9th, on 3 strikes. How fitting!
You know what else is amazing about Mo? NO ONE, no fan of any team, of any sport, no matter what, can ever say one disparaging word about him. He’s perfect.
And not in a polished-Jeter way.
And not in a bland-personality-but-ok-he-was-a-cancer-survivor-and-hasn’t-really-done-anything-outspoken-so-he’s-ok Jon Lester way.
But in a “See him? Yeah that’s the way I want you kids to play on the field” pep talk to your sons when they’re old enough to start Little League, kind of way.
There’s the Terrell Owens-Jonathan Papelbon ilk of athletes, who may be talented, but who play like Sidney Dean, not Billy Hoyle.
Then there’s the Mariano Riveras. Quiet grace, unmatched talent, unerring consistency, and most importantly, he’s competitive because he wants to win.
Yeah in theory, people are competitive because they want to win, by design. But his sense of competition is so focused, so unaffected, so organic and unprocessed, that people rarely if ever see him demonstrate even the slightest hint of fervor over this game we all live and die for. My buddy Ollie told me last year “Unless you’re a Yankee fan, you hate your closer. Every bad loss that sticks out in your memory usually is attributed to a tight game blown in the end, and the closer’s the guy attached to it.”
Interesting point. We take #42 for granted so much, not just that he’ll come in and pitch twenty 91 mph cutters and wipe his hands of the game as we all swim in the sweet sound of Frank Sinatra’s NY, NY echoing through the stadium halls.
We take it for granted that when other closers are showboating or throwing chairs or screaming or bad-mouthing anyone he thinks will torpedo him into the “He Must Be Cool Because He Irreverantly Bashed. __________.” Other closers lose their tempers. Mo’s blood pressure seems so low that sometimes you wonder whether or not he’s cognizant of what planet he’s on.
I love because there’s only 1 time I can think of that he didn’t demonstrate his usual responsibility and culpability in a post-loss interview. It was 2005, and he had blown what felt like 4000 saves (read:3) and 2 of which were against the Sux. After the 2nd one, he said “I’m only human, I’m not a machine.”
Which bothered me because, well, a.) he’s not human, he’s like John Coffey in the Green Mile or something. And b.) Mo never postures as a superstar, he just plays like one. I got sad when I heard him say “I’m not a machine” because I like to think that Mo is like one of those hot guys who was a dork growing up and hence doesn’t exactly see how adorably good looking he is now.
Of course, any residual disappointment about this un-Mo-ness, was immediately erased in the next game against the Sux, who all started giving Rivera a standing O . Because it’s Boston, we know it wasn’t out of fundamental respect for of Major League Baseball, but because it was “Fenway Faithfuls"' cute way of being condescending.
That’s right. The BOSTON RED SUX were laughing at the greatest of all time, a guy they saw to be beneath them. Anyways, in response to THIS game, when asked “How did it feel to hear all of Fenway cheering for you? His response was outstanding beyond the telling of it.
BOSTON -- It was just a few minutes after the World Series championship banner had been raised in center field, but the Red Sox fans were ready to welcome the Yankees to Fenway Park.
One by one, the Bronx Bombers were introduced to the sellout crowd, and one by one, each player with "New York" across his chest was being booed.
Jaret Wright? Boo. Randy Johnson? Boooo. Heck, even Andy Phillips got booed.
Then came the most bizarre moment of the day. Mariano Rivera's name was called, and as the closer stepped out of the dugout, the crowd broke into a standing ovation.
Rivera, who blew two saves against the Red Sox in last October's ALCS, then blew two more last week at Yankee Stadium, laughed at the applause, tipping his hat to the crowd.
"It surprised me. I didn't know they loved me so much here," said a grinning Rivera. "It was nice. I enjoyed it. I had to laugh."
"I thought he was a good sport about it," said manager Joe Torre, the only other Yankee to receive some applause. "We all know Mariano. He understands this game. When you do well and they jeer you, you handle that. When they mockingly cheer you, you handle that. When people take time to recognize you, it's a credit to who you are and what you are."
Rivera has had an aura of invincibility for most of his brilliant career, but there have been questions raised over the past week whether he has lost something off of his trademark cutter, or whether the Red Sox are simply in his head.
Whatever the problem may or may not be, the right-hander has clearly struggled against the Sox more than any other opponent, suffering nine of his 23 regular-season blown saves since 2001 against Boston.
"That was classic," said Alex Rodriguez, who received the loudest boos of any Yankees player. "I never thought I'd see the people of Boston cheering for Mariano Rivera. That was a first -- and hopefully it will be the last time."
"You probably won't hear that too much anymore," said Derek Jeter. "It was funny. He enjoyed it."
Some players may not have taken the "cheers" quite as well as Rivera did, but the laid-back Panamanian simply took it in stride.
"I felt honored," Rivera said. "What was I going to do? Get upset and start throwing baseballs at people? You just roll with it."
Yes, Mo. I would in fact like you get up and start throwing baseballs at people. And so would they. Seriously. Maybe then they’ll cease and desist from cheering every time one of their pitchers drills Arod in the head.
I love Mo because his smile makes everything awesome, but not as awesome as his cutter does. I love him because he’s the embodiment of icy intimidation—it’s like how, if someone is infuriating me, I’d rather let him talk himself into a hole while I look on with a blank stare. Nothing is disarming than your opponent’s calmness in the face of your terror.
And if we’re gonna do that whole number thing that I know sports fans are allegedly all hot on:
Mo was born in 1969, the year the “save” became a legit stat. When he tied Trevor at 601, it was his 42nd save of the year. Then there’s—wait for it—actual stats. Like real people stats. As if 602 wasn’t the only number you needed to hear to KNOW that, like Joe D’s record, our favorite Panamanian is going to hold the record for eternity.
(Which is somewhat more impressive than the 200 Ws from Wakefield, that coincided on Mo’s 600, forcing the question of what was more impressive. HOW IS THIS A QUESTION? Geez, I’m like continually astounded by how obsolete logic has become (and this is coming from the consummate irrational chick herself).
You know what’s a good litmus test for IMPRESSIVE? HAS ANYONE ELSE EVER DONE IT?
Mo: Nope. He’s at the top by himself.
Wakefield: In the company of 110 other pitchers.
It doesn’t matter that Mo only pitches a few innings a week. We’re not comparing what’s more difficult between the 2, we’re comparing what’s more impressive. And for my money, I’m going with the Chart Topper every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
BUT, if you DO need some additional proof of his ridiculousness EVEN IN the grand scheme of ALL pitchers:
- Given up the 6th least hits per nine innings
- 26th best strikeout rate
- 4th best strikeouts to walks ratio
- 5th highest WPA (Win Probability Affected, which means how much the one player influenced the outcome of the game. I love the fact there’s a stat for this.) Mo is in the top 5 of ALL pitchers ever.
- And lastly, he has the highest ERA+ of all time (which obviously is not ERA since that wouldn’t even make any sense. It’s like ERA only it’s measured against league averages and factors in ballparks. The Mendoza line so to speak with this stat is that anything over 100 is better than average, below 100 is subpar.
The next highest in history is Pedro Martinez. At 154.
The thing about those last few stats is that they don’t favor relievers, unlike ERA and WHIP. They’re stats that rely on aggregation of numbers, ie volume of situations.
Despite this, Mo never falters. He says he’s only human, but if he is, then he’s the most human immortal I know. And Yankee fans are so damn lucky for him. Our Saving Grave.
Thank you, Mo. And congratulations on making official what Yankee fans have known for years. You’re the best around. And one day I’ll get to tell my kids “I used to see him play all the time!”
(That’s probably when my dad will bound into the room with an urn of my cat’s ashes: “Yep! And here is good old Mariano Rivera right here!”)
Ok, yeah, CONGRATULATIONS! Probably just should’ve ended tribute on that note.
And this is why the Red Sux can't have nice things... Yanks win 5-2, Super Mario is frontin', GGBG's got balls1 comments
So, yeah, I guess I haven’t exactly been so much on top of shit in terms of the blogging but it was actually for a good cause. I fell off the radar because I literally did not have more than 3 hours a day that weren’t already consumed by the launch of XALKORI, indicated for the treatment of ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer.
The FDA approved it on Friday which means that for about another 5 days I have my life back. I’m sure DDMAC will time it so I lose it again right around when the playoffs start, not unlike what they did last year with the launch of ARICEPT 23 mg.
But I digress. The point is, I returned from the 7th circle of drug launch hell just in time to watch Fatso do work, and just in time to see the Yanks follow Cervelli’s lead in his deliberate march to insanity at the expense of the Red Sux.
Where to begin?
Alright, I’m a little rusty so I gotta ween back into this. Let’s go old school bullet style. ‘Sides, it’ll be a refreshing change of pace to write a bulleted list that doesn’t have to be supported with published studies.
- The game starts and there’s approximately zero people in the viewing world who are thinking to themselves, “Yeah, I got a feeling this is a gonna be a quick one. Boston…Yanks….what could possibly go wrong?”
- Just to confirm that this sentiment is about as rational as Gus Johnson, the game begins with Granderson getting hit by a pitch (of course), but instead of taking a base, he gets EXAMINED BY THE HOME PLATE UMP FOR BRUISES. And not in a motherly kind of way. In a teacher who doubts you were really out with the flu and hence demands to see a note from the doctor kind of way. No sufficient enough bruise was procured and Grandy ends up striking out.
- Tubbo.com retaliates by drilling Ellsbury but OF COURSE no one checks to make sure his spinal cord is misaligned enough to grant his admission to first base. Biased officials….cough….biased officials. Whatever. Fatso’s f’n awesome. But wait for it, because he gets even awesomer in innings to come.
- I reallllly hate the fact Pedroia is batting clean up. He’s good, I’ll concede that. But there’s just so much I don’t like about him, and I think I don’t need to explain myself really, given my audience. And if—among this audience---there’s the contrarian, then just imagine how you’d feel if Jeter was batting clean up. Irrationally pissed. However, I’d like to point out one (of many) glaring differences between Jeter and Pedroia. As far as I know, none of Jeter’s relatives have been convicted of sodomy.
- (THAT KILLS ME, btw. The fact that bringing up this story is like “taking it too far” but Arod allegedly plays poker maybe, and you’d think he was caught with child porn.) Man I missed ranting about the maddening collection of Sux Double Standards. (Don’t judge me, but I just definitely spent about 20 seconds trying to figure out how to put a T-word into that phrase, so that I could make some reference to the Sux having STDS.)
- The Yanks put up 1 early, with Round Boy doing work. Chavez drives in a run because Pedroia sucks and missed a “seeing eye grounder” as Kay excitedly put it. Cano brings in another because Cano has effectlvely turned into the unassailable fortress of awesome that’s defined by how consistently he exudes confidence.
- >When I was little and playing softball, my dad used to say that fielding was easy as long as I just didn’t let the ball get past me. He said, “It doesn’t matter how hard they hit it or how good the batter is. All you have to do is stay in front of it.”
- (To be clear, I can’t throw farther than 5 feet and when it comes to batting, I couldn’t hit water if I fell off a boat, but fielding…I’m ok with that.) And Cano walks onto the field like his dad told him the same thing. Because he plays like he knows how good he is.
- And even more importantly, he plays like it’s easy to him.
- Chavez comes back 2 innings later to make it 3-0. Yes this game makes total sense. Chavez pulling a Kobe-esque “ok whatever y’all Ima just go ahead and win this shit MYSELF.”
- Carl Crawford who I still can’t believe betrayed me after all I’ve done for him, puts the Sux on the board with a solo bomb. Saltamacchia [sic and I don’t care] scores on Scutaro’s double, and just like that it’s the 4th inning and I feel like this game has already gone on for about 29 hours and it’s 3-2. Shockingly, however, no warnings have been issued. I didn’t know this was possible.
- I thought it was like when I had a radio show in college and we had these ridiculously strict station format rules like playing 3 songs from 3 different pre-determined playlists an hour, no more than 5 songs in a row without a PSA, station ID every 15 minutes, etc. And similarly, I assumed issuing a warning was practically a station requirement within the 1st hour. I’m chalking this up to the ump who thinks he a bruise-diagnosing-doctor (and cheers to the YES booth for being merciless in making fun of him for that.)
- Shit gets real interesting real fast when Cervelli goes long for the 2nd time in his career. (That stat is important.) He runs around the bases a la Super Mario with flower-induced invincibility (I swear on everything that’s holy if I knew one iota about making youtube stuff/manipulating videos, I’d 100% be making some kind of Nintendo tribute/mix to this game’s highlights.)
- He concludes his trot around the bases with a move that’s on par with—nay, trumps—the relentless Manny freeze-frame-immediately-after-going-deep moves. Our little Ital stomps down on home plate with the same fervor as I did in puddles during this past weekend’s hurricane. Except I wasn’t compounding that with an aggressively smug hand clap while squaring up to the catcher.
- Yeah he got beaned at his next at bat.
- So Super Mario gets beaned and stares down Lackey like he’s freaking Gary Sheffield or something and not Gary Coleman. Honestly, for a second I thought he was just going to take the bat, turn around, and club Saltawhatever over the head with it. As it turns out, I wasn’t too far, given Cervelli’s take on this in the post-game interview:
- “At the time, I forgot English. I not a problematic guy.”
- Yeah, because had he had a better command of English he could have more reasonably explained to Lackey his disappointment in getting hit by a pitch. Instead, his lack of language mastery manifested itself in an uncharacteristic shift to “problematic.” Well, for what it’s worth Cervelli, I’m 100% comfortable with your problematicness. Seriously.
- Another thing I have zero problem with is Lard’s uncharacteristic shift to playing the “I’m a 300 pound badass and will stare menacingly to underscore this point” card. You don’t see him do that a lot, and I can only assume he trotted out in this game out of anger over being made to get up for a stupid brawl.
- Still, no warning. Whatever. All that means is we’re spared the hackneyed analysis on what issuing a warning “really means” and how this “really will impact the outcome of the game.” Oh, and the whole “well that takes the bullet out of the Yankees chamber now!” commentary.
- It’s a tough call, but I think what GGBG did next was even more f’n hardcore than Super Mario’s thwomping on the koopa troopers right in front of Salty. GGBG gets up, Lackey tries his pathetic hardest to pitch inside and hit him, but all he does is get him to a 3-0 count (all the while, Super Mario’s hustling to 2nd). And then, THEN, in the ultimate “you wanna play it like that? I’ll play it like that, I’ll play it like Lionel Richie, baby, all night long” move, GGBG lays down a perfect bunt on 3-0.
- I think Jed Lowrie, who never seems to be all quite there to begin with, could not have been more confused at 3B when he sees #11 zipping over to first (safe) while Super Mario’s moving to 3rd (safe), all after Lackey thrice attempted to brush our boy off. 3-0 bunt. Yeah, that’s about as awesome as it comes. I’m really not even kidding.
- I think a lot of what the Yanks were doing was just confusing the Sux a lot, actually. Like when Grandy played a ball off the Green Monster, when everyone KNOWS the only people who know how to do that are Red Sux and that’s why Fenway is such a home field advantage, etc etc, knuckleball, Adrian Gonzalez, etc etc. Vomit. Vom dot com.
- Jeter makes it 5-2 with a double-play ground out. That’s the Jeter way of looking at things. The I-know-he-hit-3000-but-I’m-sorry-I-just-cant-continue-the-lionizing-in-good-conscience group of us are looking the other side of the coin which is that he grounded out no less than 5 times.
- Mo comes in to save the game, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when I saw who he’d be pitching to the 9th. Ortiz, Lowrie, Crawford. In a 3-run game. Blech. But Mo does work. All of our pitchers did, actually. It was so inspiring to see. Like they all knew how important this was and none of ‘em wanted to let anyone else down.
- Fatso let up 2 runs and whiffed 10 and threw 128 pitches. Boone Logan looked very D-Rob up there, (so much so that he was a Player of the Game—I think Boone’s mom must know someone in the clubhouse because I sort of get that nepotism vibe from him), and Mo came through for us too, earning his 35th save of the season.
- It was a little terrifying though for a minute. Ortiz doubles. Fantastic. Lowrie strikes out and was so articulate in his annunciation of the slew of curses, that I’m surprised it didn’t show up on my closed captioning. [“That was fucking bullshit. Not even fucking close."]
- Crawford quells our fears by popping out to short, and this was hilarious because the second the ball leaves the bat, Mo throws his arm up as if to say “yeah that’s you, someone back there get it.” Or as my sister so perfectly compared it to: “It’s like when the phone rings at home and Dad is lying on the couch watching war movies and he just shoots his arm up in the air and yells “PHONE!” Yep, it was exactly, exactly like that.
- So the last of the terror moments comes when Saltafuckthis SWINGS INTO A PITCH AND HITS HIS HAND AND GETS TO TAKE A BASE, making it 2 on, 2 out, and the tying run at the plate. Girardi has a shit fit and gets thrown out, prompting my sister to muse that there really should be some kind of manager brainstorming meeting about varying the “I’m-pissed-off-and-i-want-the-world-to-know-it-but-without-touching-the-ump-because-that’s-wrong” moves that managers make when they’re fighting calls.
- There’s throwing down the hat in disgust, the ticking off the fingers, the flapping arms, the frantic circle-drawing with arms, the who-can-tilt-their-head-to-the-side more contest, etc. All are overused. There’s gotta be a new move somewhere between the hat throwdown and the base-stealing.
And… that’s pretty much where we’re at. The YES network pretty much exploded into giddy smugness the second the game ended, which was such an amazingly wonderful departure from the usual FOX/ESPN crap of “well the Yanks win, but you gotta ask yourself if winning means anything when you’re completely devoid of a soul. Next up, we’re talking to Dice-K on the status of his gyroball.”
See you tomorrow, Yankee fans. And it's time to start welcoming in September baseball. Bring it on.
So back in March, I was applying for the MLB Dream Job thing, and part of the application process was an essay on What The Biggest Story of 2011 Will Be. (Or Who Will Be MVP).
I had no clue what to write about. None. I mean, part of me wanted to write about how the biggest story is going to be Matt Kemp's discovery of his ability to fly. Or The Sizemore Scandal, where Grady turns out to have a twin who plays for him every other week. You get the idea. No one knows what's gonna go down, and like Sterling likes to remind us, "baseball's a funny game."
(I choked at last minute and wrote about instant replay.)
HOWEVAH, I think it's a safe bet that not one of the 5,000+ applicants wrote about what REALLY has been the most prominent theme this year:
THE GALACTICALLY HIGH PREMIUM PLACED ON THE CAUGHT FOUL BALL.
I'm not kidding. A few weeks ago, there's that gut-wrenching, heart-breaking story of the poor father/fireman who died trying to catch a ball for his son. I can't even think about it without getting a lump in my throat. (Fathers will do absolutely anything for their children. It's one of the most warming truths in existence.)
After this happened, you'd think there'd be a whole "put-things-in-perspective" element surrounding the hoops one is willing to jump through in order to obtain a ball from the game.
Instead, here's what has happened since the tragic incident at Rangers Ballpark:
1. Fan almost does exact same thing, on the very day of the Rangers fan memorial service.
2. Giants fan brat has his embarrassing pouting rewarded
3. Disgusting Diamondbacks loser throws his weight around
4. Disgusting unbranded woman takes candy from a baby
And amid all this nonsense and appalling rejection of normal social conduct, there's this:
What an amazing little boy. That was my first thought. Then I remembered... IT'S A FOUL BALL! I see it the same way I see dating. If one comes your way, cool! That's exciting! But assigning so much importance to it that you end up shedding your morals/standards or that you let the lack of one ruin your enjoyment of the game...that's..well, really? I mean, people are nuts.
Good on little Ian for shutting up the crying baby. He was either the most selfless 9-year old ever to take in a ballgame...or he was the most rational. Either way, that's good stock right there.
Maybe one day he can get together with the Phillies fan from last year, who also seemed to understand the insignificance of the foul ball cache.
You know, when there's the inevitable "How My Obsession with Snagging a Game Ball Has Changed My Life" summit.
You know, the same one that Mr. Bartman's predictably absent from each year.
So there you have it. At the halfway point in the 2011 season, the biggest story line this year has been the distortion of human pathos when it comes to grabbing that elusive ball at the stadium. Shannon Stone was being a diligent father. The rest of them (save Ian) were being diligent lunatics. And as someone with the word "crazy" in her moniker, I don't feel like I'm out of line in distinguishing the good wackos from the bad ones.
Any time you forget you're at a baseball game TO WATCH BASEBALL...that's bad crazy.
I'll take the good crazies--the ones who never stop screaming at the opposing team for 9 straight innings--every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
And as for the stadiums..just make your guard rails higher or something! Or make a rule all foul balls must be handed to the nearest kid or face ejection. I don't know. Whatever, this story line beats the steroid stuff, anyway.
Poor Fatso. Couldn't get the 15th win. And on his birthday and everything. Ugh, that sucks. For some reason, I always feel so terrible for players who have 0-fer games on their bday, or get shelled, or just have a game that's less than amazing.
I guess it doesn't matter since men, at least according to men, don't like bdays. It's a chick thing. I think they probably only notice when it's a crappy bday.
To be clear, Round Boy wasn't crappy by any stretch of the imagination. The Yanks just couldn't hit. Sigh. Again.
Well, neither could Tampa Bay. Longoria hit for like the first time in ever. It was a homerun though so that part sucked. Then Fuld hits a TRIPLE to score the game winning run. Yanks rallied a baby mouse in the end, with Cano's roped shot into right, that plated Jeter who had his 3010th hit (double).
It was the kind of game that played out "without incident." I mean, Bday Boy obviously looked amazing (or his pitches did, anyway. He looked like a giant inflatable landmark type of thing you see on the side of the highway to let all interested parties know that the zoo is going up on the right in 23 miles. Or something.)
Yeah, so he only made 2 mistakes. And he didn't seem to be too worried about them, as he shouldn't be because a.) it's her birthday, and b.) 2 mistakes in a game is a gem. The lumber was useless tonight, and I guess if we want to be optimistic, we can think about how there ain't a whole lot of fuel for the hater fire, when the Yanks have shed their "long-ball-game" reliance (albeit not voluntarily). The team is now such a very odd hybrid of talent.
How are we winning games? It's not like I'm saying the team has holes. I'm saying the opposite, sort of. Inverse, maybe? I don't know. But holes suggest major problem areas that are resulting in losses. I'm asking about the "bumps," maybe? The talent areas that result in wins. Where and what are they?
Arod's doing the whole surgery thing. I should've seen this coming. I grabbed him with my first pick (4th) and it was too easy. I guess all the energy haters are saving with the long-ball game being somewhat muted, they can now use on the immaterially paper-thin theory that Arod's doing steroids.
To that I'll say, "The guy may be less than sharp when it comes to basic social conduct, but we know he was off steroids in 2009. He had the best year of his life. What kind of idiot would think, 'hey, let's go back to see what it was like when I was streaky and clutchless. Just for kicks.'"
The only people who do that sort of thing are people at the optometrist's office getting new glasses prescriptions.
So the Yanks are now 2 behind the Sux. Maddon continues to annoy the shit outta me, because he connnnstantly talks down to everyone, and he acts like any win/favorable media talking point/etc can be directly attributed to not just his managerial skills, but--worse--his UNCONVENTIONAL code-rupturing managerial skills.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Maddon perused the box score and wondered aloud how the latest stellar pitching performance by James Shields only improved the Tampa Bay All-Star's record to one game over .500.
"How's that possible?" Maddon asked after the 29-year-old right-hander won for the first time in nearly a month, outpitching CC Sabathia and beating the New York Yankees 2-1 on Thursday night. "You see Sabathia is 14-5. That's what Shields' record should look like."
Ugh. I know, I know. It was innocuous, I suppose. But to me it still sounds like Maddon is trying to demonstrate that he always KNEW Shields was a winner, even when stats say otherwise.
And because he thinks like that, that's proof enough right there that he's not as smart as he thinks he is.
You're only as good as your numbers.
And right now, the numbers the Yanks have to worry about is 4. As in 4 bases. As in the things that are kryptonite to our once flush lineup of OBP.
Now? GGBG is our leading stats batter (BA: .291; OBP: .372)
The Yanks are winning games somehow, but I'll be damned if I know how.
Lastly...Kyle Farnsworth. Just...no.
"Are we winning?"
I left work at around 10:15. "Is it still 4-2?"
"Last I checked."
"I'm gonna head home and catch the comeback."
I think I only said that because that's the beauty of optimism: you're gonna be right eventually. No such thing as false hope. All hope is true.
And it's Tampa, a team that brings to mind a bevy of things (maybe not quite a bevy, but whatever): "the largest sting ray tank" claim to fame, the fact no fan of theirs is established or jaded enough to really feel strongly one way or the other about the whole "devil" abolition, and--most importantly--the fact the Yanks have a way of rallying against them in the 8th inning.
People are nuts, the Yanks go on what my youngest sister would term "a baby mouse bite" of a losing streak, and everyone, even my DAD, has thrown their hat into the ring for the "how many different ways are there to say the Yanks are done?" showdown.
(I don't know, maybe my Dad doesn't really think that. I was leaving for the beach on Saturday, and as I'm rushing out the door, already an hour late to meet my buddy, he says, "Hey, so Kris, how many games back are the Yanks now?"
"2? Hm. Not doing so hot, yeah?"
"No, no, I don't know. They're doing fine."
"Maybe you should start blogging more, maybe that would help."
"Yeah, maybe. Right now?"
So, it's possible my dad doesn't think they're done, that he was either just trying to get him to stay at home and keep him company amidst the rest of the female Pollina clan...or he was trying to gently remind me that I need to start restructuring my time to fit in blogging. Either way, he's right. As usual.)
Moving on, so the latest entry into the "New analysis of Yanks from a hater's perspective in Bristol" might be this one.
Yeah. The Yanks are too old to catch the Sux. How old are the freaking Sux? Now all of a sudden they're the spring chickens of the league?
To that point, the game was won today off the bat of GGBG. Who's not exactly tipping the age scales.
GGBG knocks in run 3 in the 8th to cut the 4-2 deficit down to 1. Then, JUST as importantly, he slides with all the G & G he can muster in that 100 pound frame of his, to break up the double play, allowing Swish to score and tie the game.
And here come the Yankees!
People forget about that, sometimes. The fact it's the Yankees. It's because of 2009, I think. When on average the Yankees came from behind or celebrated a walk-off, roughly 9 times a week. And now when they don't collect these dramatic moshpits at homeplate every week, the baseball-loving world freaking treats them like they're the Mets or something, who have a chemical dependence on blowing leads.
So, yeah, this is the Yankees.
And they came back, for the 3rd this year after trailing in the 7th, and we knew they would because they're not just the Yankees, but they're the Rays. And not only THAT, but it was Kyle F' n Farnsworth.
And if NOTHING else, Yankee fans can have unwavering faith in his ability to blow games.
Or, as I used to tell my sisters whenever someone would hit a long fly ball to the warning track off KF: "That jerk just robbed poor Farnsworth of another blown game."
(Not to fear, Farnsworth would just throw the ball about 10 mph harder to the next batter, about about 10,000% more down the pipe, in the strike zone, always ensuring a follow-up f-up.)
What a weird night for drama. You got our resident loony on the mound (5 IP, 8H, 4R, 6BBs), whose post-game sound bites do little other than pile on the mounting evidence in his case for degeneracy:
After exchanging words with some fans behind the Yankee dugout:
"I forgot it as soon as it happened. I couldn't tell you what he said or I said."
(See, I actually believe that. I really believe that AJ probably just blacked out. Or forgot. Or doesn't know it happened. Our #2 starter, ladies and gentleman. It gets better, btw...)
Regarding the 18 minute blackout caused by nearby lightening that knocked out the power right in the middle of Cano's AB:
"I was actually better after the lights went out. Maybe they should do it more often.'' ... (That's what she said? Sorry. Just like KF, that was just a meatball being lobbed up..)
(To be clear, Cano firmly asserted he would NOT want to bat in the dark. That's good to know. It's also hysterical to me that Girardi was given an OPTION of whether he wanted to play in the dark or not. Like it's the sandlot or something.)
Is this like a policy? You get a choice now when faced with less than favorable playing condition? Because I can think of at least one game in recent memory of a lot more consequence, in which I'm quite sure the Yanks were never asked whether or not they were comfortable playing and/or doing dramatic reenactments of scenes from Stephen King's "The Mist."
The Yanks end up winning on Russell Martin's walk off BB. Excellently done, too. 3-2 count on a tie game bases loaded with 1 out? I'm swinging at anything, before it even leaves the pitcher's hand.
Fortunately, Martin was more prudent. And game over.
(I wonder how insulted he was that 2 batters were walked before him, albeit only Swisher was intentional. Jones was unintentional. Nice work, Maddon. Stop trying so hard to be erudite and crafty. Or continue doing it, I don't care. It's just sooo affected and makes my skin crawl to watch. Thanks, asshole.)
So tonight the Allergy is going to go up against the more than a little decent Hellickson.
I got a good feeling about this game. And this team. Per my post title, I think the Yankees are going to win the World Series. And it's going to be hilarious because they're going to do it just how they won last night. Through ugly wins and small ball and GG and some luck.
And no one will know how to handle it. The Yanks will be too busy gracelessly swatting away the Sux, that the unrelenting "Yanks Suck!" chants just won't cut it anymore. What does the world of baseball fanatics do when the Yanks are the below-the-radar scrapters?
(I assume the answer to this question is something along the lines of overspending for a pitcher who would have been worth his wait in gold, circa 2006...cough..Ubaldo...cough).
Whatever, I just love this team. And they're going to do it again this year. Despite all the stuff I keep seeing about how "THE YANKEES ARE DONE!" I know they've only just begun.
Bring it on, AL East. Never forget who's Boss.
- The scene in Father of the Bride when they're playing basketball
- The scene in the Wonder Years when "We've Got Tonight" is playing
- The scene in "A League of Their Own" when Marla Hooch's dad says goodbye to his daughter
- The last episode of the Wonder Years
- The end of the "For Love of the Game"
I digress. As usual. My point is that last night was like the blitzkrieg on my emotions. Robinson Cano makes history by knocking out the most long balls ever in the 2nd round of the HR derby. Not only that, but he does so by trampling on the Red Sux. Not only THAT, but he does it off his father's pitches.
And then, of course, throw in the fact that these weren't just long balls. They were spacecraft launches. It was like that Prince Fielder commercial where he hits a ball that sails around the world.
472 feet?? Seriously? Off a meatball? I mean, it wasn't like you had Farnsworth up there throwing heaters down the pipe. It was Jose Cano.
(Jose Cano, btw is only 49 years old. It's the theory of relativity in action right there. I see him pitching to Robbie and he looks like a father. Meaning, he looks like a somewhat oldish man, a little lost, a lot proud. But he's only 49. I mean, he could theoretically be playing pro ball right now, taking in 4pm early bird specials with Wakefield et al.)
It wasn't just the father-son relationship that had lumps forming in my throat. It was the Yankee family relationship, too. Russell Martin and Grandy acting like Peyton Manning at Super Bowl 42, like proud older brothers bursting at the seams, not knowing what to do first, where to jump, where to yell.
It's amazing, that feeling of pride. It can't be manufactured.
Like when my sister got promoted, or when my other sister graduated magna cum laude, or when my Mom was in the paper for spearheading Long Beach's beautification initiative, or when my Dad came in 2nd in the Borgata poker tournament.
When Strange passed the bar, or when Pete became a Marine, or when my cousin won the Hummerdinger award.
When Jack gets a part in a play, or when Krista wrote a novel, or when Chase gets promoted. When Jelsen was clerking, when Annee got a new job, when Allison met Amos, when Megan had Reagan.
Pride. It's one of the last few remaining vestiges of goodness in the world, because it's completely selfless. You stand nothing to gain, it's involuntary, and uncontainable. It reminds us that there are parts of society that aren't governed by a self-serving impetus.
I never liked the All Star Break until last night. Until last night, I thought it was a pointless exhibition endeavor. I hated the ambiguous sense of flat competition it's based on. Last night, it was baseball stripped of its self-aggrandizing pride, and drenched in that inimitable feeling of being proud.
There's a difference.
And, like Robert Frost said, 'THAT has made all the difference.'
Congrats, Canos. And thank you.
This may have been the best weekend of my summer so far. It should probably tell me something that I spent all of about 15 minutes of it in NYC, the rest of it outside NY. This, of course, left me devoid of internet access though. Maybe that had something to do with it, too. We can deduce from this tautology that, indeed, the internet is evil.
We can also deduce from what the Yankees did this weekend that the New York Yankees are so f%^*ing awesome.
I went out to Long Beach on Saturday, and me and Amanda are about to go to the beach, and we're looking for Mom. "I think she's in the bathroom."
"She's been in there for a while."
"I don't know, maybe she's sick."
"Did you knock?"
"No, if she's sick, I don't want to bother her."
So we go across the street to my aunt's place, and it's a good thing we didn't wait for her to come out of the bathroom since had been across the street the whole time. (I cannot tell you how many times this happens to me. I swear I am like the perennial line-holder-upper at bars. All because I don't want to knock and disturb whoever's in there. And it almost ALWAYS turns out that I am holding up the line for an empty bathroom.)
Anyways, the point of this story is that had I not thought someone was in the bathroom in my own place and hence went across the street, I would have missed the greatest hit Jeter has ever had in his career.
My mom, aunt, uncle, et al are all crowded around the TV watching with baited breath.
And he did it.
It was unreal.
I think my uncle's eyes may have even welled up a little. And he's a Mets fan!
How does Jeter do it. How. It's not human.
The guy has hit 2 HRs all year, and come 3000, when it's a 1-0 game, he ties the game and makes history in one swing.
Of course, he doesn't stop there.
He goes 5-for-5 on the day, singles in the winning run, and it was just one of those days you look at other teams and think, "God, I'm so lucky I'm a Yankee fan."
"It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost. So that was going through my head in my last at-bat today," Jeter said.
Good old, Jeter. Just trying to avoid things being awkward. It's like Pfizer being all, "Well, we went ahead and developed a treatment for the most life-threatening form of lung cancer known to mankind. Because, I mean, we don't want to put out other drugs for lesser diseases and not have a cure for the worst one of all. That'd be kind of awkward."
So...thank you, Mr. Jeter. For keeping things socially acceptable, aka hitting the game-winning single so we could all relish in your day in good conscience.
(Ha, you know what was REALLY awkward? After Jeter hit the single that passed Gehrig in all time hits...after all the fanfare dies down...the first thing that happened? Chris Tillman--completely unironically--tries to pick him off first. Seriously.)
Speaking of good conscience, how about the dude who CAUGHT the 3000th hit? Who basically asked for a ham sandwich and a glass of milk as payment? Ok, I'm gonna be honest here. I love the Yankees. And if it was, say, Mo's 3000th save--(yeah, I know)--even with Mo being my favorite player and all, I STILL think I'd try to get a little something out of it.
I'm sorry, I would. I mean, I wouldn't try to put dibs on their grandchildren's inheritance or something. I talked about it with my coworker Gabe, I decided that I probably would have asked for 5 g's, playoff tickets, and an autographed bat. Because, come on, that's like a bajillion dollar ball right there!
Anyways, good for Christian Lopez. He has over $100,000 in student loans, and that ball was probably gonna go for $250,000 in an auction. If I had a family, there's no way I would have sold it for less than $250,000. How fitting that the classiest guy in the stadium caught the ball of the classiest guy on the field.
(Another thing to note: you know how I am about number coincidences. #2 hit his 2nd hit of the game exactly at 2pm. He's also the 28th guy to do in history. 28...why does that number ring important for some reason...)
If Saturday's game was one for the offensive books, then Sunday's was one for the books of the defensive persuasion.
Tubbo.com--you may know him as THE GUY WHO WASN'T ON THE ORIGINAL ALL-STAR ROSTER--(or as the guy who ate the lion's share of Eastern Europe)--pitched a complete game shut out. In, like, 2934 degree heat.
The most ridiculous part of the whole game?
The last pitch.
The one that struck out Elliot Johnson.
The last one he threw.
98 miles an hour.
Fatso wrapped up in the game in 2 hours and 11 minutes. (More 2's!)
That's insane. The Yankees played this weekend like Baseball All Stars team that has the "what is a wren" cheat code programmed in.
We still trail Boston by 1 game, but who doesn't like what they're seeing right now??
And to make matters even more terrifying for our opponents... the Yanks aren't even a 1st half team.
Which is to say that, you think this is tough? You don't KNOW tough.
The Yanks haven't even begun to play.
We're just getting warmed up.
(Oh, nbd, but Round Boy got a pie in the face. Yep. Odds that he ate it off himself? 100%.)
So that's where the Yanks are at heading into the All-Star break. It's a good thing Jeter got 3000 outta the way. And that Tubbo.com really stuck it to the voters. And that the Yanks are playing like possessed bulls on parade to the 'ship.
Because, if nothing else, it's sort of taking the attention away from our boy Arod. Who's going into surgery. Again. And who hasn't been going yard. Still. But who will of course return with a vengeance.
Because that's what they do.
And that's why the Yankees can have nice things.
So the Subway Series comes and goes, and the Mutts actually manage to squeeze one out of us, in a dramatic (uh..er...) walk off win in Game 3. Aw, good for them. This is the biggest series of the year for them, and that must have felt good.
You know what else feels good? Not being tangled up in interleague play anymore.
The Yanks actually probably aren't as happy as me about this, since they've won every series during this AL v. NL run. Which is shocking to me. Really. Not because I hold the NL in such high regard (the opposite), but because the Yanks are generally powerless against teams they dont see much of.
In 2009, the only 2 teams they had losing records against were the 2 worst teams in the entire league.
In 2011, though it's clearly not the same team as we were enamored with 2 years ago, our boys are just doing it the Yankee-blue-collared way. Chipping away at things. One game at a time. Taking care of business.
(For the record, my dad swears on everything that is holy that he was the first person to ever use that expression. Ever. According to Wikipedia, the origins are from some DJ named Daryl B, but I believe my dad. As always. And who listens to Wikipedia, anyway? Hobos.)
The Yanks are doing what Michelle Pfeifer's class of hoodrats did in "Dangerous Minds": keeping their A.
"Anyone can earn an A at least once. It's much harder to keep one."
And that's just what our own pinstriped boys have been doing. Keeping their A. And by "A" I mean their supremacy.
They've gone 8-2 in their last 10 and are 1.5 games up on the out-of-control-and-not-in-a-good-way Sux.
And today the Yanks just further entrenched themselves in the confidence of their fans with another gem of an outing from Who But CC Sabathia. (That may or may not have been the first time I've called him anything other than Fatso, Tubbo.com, or Round Boy...save my ridiculous CC rap anthem post.)
So, on Sunday, I'm lying around at Strange's place with Bud Heavies, Tostitos, and the Cubs-Sox series/Subway series on an alternating flip. And up until the Yanks blew it against the Mutts, the only energy either of us could really muster was when it came to talking about Paul Konerko and Tubbo.com--2 of the most egregious ASG snubs.
I honestly had to assume that it was some kind of preference on Fatso's end. Like, he had dinner plans that night to eat Spain or something, so he was going to respectfully decline his bid.
But no. He was actually snubbed. The best pitcher in the AL. Now with 12 wins.
This is just like reason #2394 why I hate the ASG. If the game is going to count for something, if there's a coveted prize at stake (home field advantage in the WS), then the roster should be determined by stats and performance. If it's an exhibition game, then let the masses do the yearbook superlative thing.
Whatever. Onto today's game:
Jeter's now 4 hits away from 3000. How exciting!!! No errors were made at SS, and in the words of the sometimes merciless Kay: "And for anyone who doesn't really know how valuable Jeter is to this team, it's game like [the loss to Mutts] that make you remember who you want at SS."
Girardi hinted at probably benching Jeter "to give him his rest" (cough...bullshit...cough), and that his "concern is winning ballgames and him being healthy." (cough...partial bullshit...cough)
Call it what it is, Joe. You're gonna bench Jeter so he can get 3000 at home. I'm onto you. Hey, when I don't feel like going out to a bar on the west side, I use the whole "umm...I'm kinda feeling under the weather right now. But call me if you end up on the upper east side!"
Something Sort of Grandish went something sort of yard, twice. At least 8 players had 2 hits, for a grand total of 17. Another fun double digit number: 11, which is both the number of Ks for Round Boy, and the number of runners LOB. Soooo...ok only the former was fun. But in the interest of the compliment sandwich (courtesy Elias):
With his two HR on Tuesday, Grandy has joined Tex as Yankees teammates with 25 HR this season. Only one other time in Yankees history has a pair of teammates had at least 25 HR before the All-Star break. In 1961, Roger Maris had 33 and Mickey Mantle had 29 at the All-Stark break.
The Indians have been on my shitlist for a while, really, ever since they pummeled the Yanks 7 years ago, end of August. 22-0. Then the whole midge thing.
(That word in it of itself irritates the hell outta me. It's like Ty Wigginton's last name. I just feel like this compulsive need for there to be a "g" in there, the same way I feel a compulsive need for a "t" at the end of midge. Yeahhh...so that's where my life's at.)
Lance Pendleton, whose name my sister adores, but that I feel sounds too much like he should be doing sorcery stuff with in Hogwash or whatever the land of Harry Potter is called, looked ridiculous on the mound tonight.
He has a 9-0 lead, loads the bases, 0 outs, and it's the type of situation where a manager's gotta think, "Ok do I let him just abuse this comfy 9-run cushion for the sake of giving him some game time...or do I not risk it because it can be a slippery slope?"
I personally would have kept him in for a LITTLE longer..but not by much, because while, yeah you don't want to embarrass the guy, there's also the likelihood that after he's realizing the strike zone has virtually become an unattainable dimension of reality for him, that he just wants to be put outta his misery.
Luckily, no harm, no foul, 2 runs. And the Yanks win 9-2 (I love that score!)
Keep it up, guys. Take care of business.1
2 more things:
-Does ARod hit homeruns anymore? It's cool if he doesn't, but I was just curious if he's been unofficially or otherwise relegated to a clean up batter who gets base hits.
-I love the fact the html code for a superscript is .
Reference: 1. Pollina TM. Data on file.
So after a bit of a hiatus, I'm back in the blogosphere, a return fueled in part by the fact I'm finally away from the office, and in part fueled by the fact I couldn't NOT write about last night's game, it being a subway series and all. Plus, I was in attendance.
Special thanks to Paul P. for organizing the company outing, an amazing time was had by all, particularly by us Yank fans. Even the Mets fans were living it up. Which isn't hard to do when the office closes at 1 and before we can settle into the big Queens v. Bronx rivalry, we all entertain a more pressing competition--how to finish a bottle of Jager as quickly as possible.
(I don't know what the rush was, actually. It was 1:00 and we had a good 5 hours before we needed to head over to the field. I guess after years of hearing clients tell us they need things "2 days ago," not even drinking can be executed without a hot-deadline intensity?)
Moving on, here's what we got on the night:
Yesterday may have been the first time I ever made it to batting practice. I can't even get to the game in time for the free give-away, just lucky if I make it before the 3rd inning. Sooo I wasn't initially crazy about the idea of voluntarily getting to Citi hours before first pitch to join the throngs of crazy Mutts fans who stand like at the guardrails of the stadium, poised with their baseball mitts forming this disjointed perimeter of lunatics begging the outfielders to "toss it up here!!"
Well last night--save the mitt part--I joined those ranks. Didn't snag any balls though. Wasn't a bad idea to go. I wish I could be more incendiary and critical and abrasive about the Mets' home, but I just can't. It's so nice of a stadium. I can't decide how I feel about the center field apple though. The rest of the stadium is so sleek and well constructed, but the nuances are just...Mets-like. Kiss Cam, etc.
Mr. Met is cool.
So the game starts and the Yanks batter Niese early, it was a bit reminiscent of the Sons of Pitches softball game from Thursday where we got our asses handed to us by a 3 and 5 team. Base hit after base hit, roping them in where the fielders ain't. Look at that, Yanks doing the whole manufacturing runs thing! 3-0 after the 1st.
The Mets pretty much do the same exact thing when they go to bat, but we manage to keep the damage to 1-run. I like Nova. I don't why there are young guys who everyone is like tripping over themselves to elevate to deity status, but then there are other ones who people are just like, "Well hold on a minute, let's not get ahead of ourselves, let's just wait and see about him, hmm?"
I mean, our 2 superstars of hall of fame glory and excellent are both doing God knows what on the DL right now. One with a "dead arm" and one with a fat body. And probably some other legit injury I guess.
So while Nova is waiting to win that not-exactly-coveted role of "Exalted to the Point of Haters Pointing Fingers and Crying 'Overrated'" pitcher, Nunez earning his paycheck filling in for Jeter. Actually, everyone keeps saying he's doing just a good a job as our captain, but to be honest, I think he's doing better.
Ok to be CLEAR I'm not saying Nunez is better than Jeter. But I think if you looked at what he's done in his understudy tenure and compared it to what Jeter's been doing in any given 2 week span, Nunez has proved to be more consistent.
That said, however, Nunez is a bit accident prone with the arm. Meaning where he tosses the ball is anyone's guess. 10 errors to his credit this year. The team as a whole has 50. Kinda reminds me of when Giambi was on first and there'd be an infield grounder and I'd just basically have to cover my eyes and hope Giambi was somewhere in the vicinity of the base.
I am somewhat confused on how errors are decided. Maybe my vantage point was warping my view of things, but I could have sworn in the bottom of the 1st, there was a pretty errant throw to first (CYC-style, if you've ever seen me attempt to throw any distance more than 7 feet) and yet no error was recorded? I dont know how these things are decided in the same way I can't figure out how balks are determined.
So after this really exciting start to the game with all these base hits and what not, no one scores again until the 8th inning, when a single from our boy Nunez brings in Martin.
4-1 game, though most would argue that it should be different since the Mets kind of got robbed on a big play at 3B in the 7th. Speedy Reyes who I have beef with after he screwed over my fantasy team 2 years ago, tags up on a deep fly ball, racing over to 3rd only to be "tagged" out by A-Rod.
Replays showed there was no tag, so there goes that whole "tie goes to the runner" maxim, which been replaced--for quite some time now--"tie goes to the one who sells it better." Ahh, isn't that always the case.
Tough break, Reyes. But hey, at least you got A-Rod inexplicably offering up heaps of ass-kissing this morning. Ok the greatest player in the world? From A-Rod, no less. Maybe a 5 year old kid is allowed to be all "Reyes is better than everything else combined!"
(Or, actually, like my buddy Ollie pronouncing in all earnest last year that Oliver Perez is the best player in baseball.)
But the ACTUAL greatest player in the world saying this? Cmon.
More excitement, when Terry Collins runs out to protest the call, and I swear the Mets can't even execute an ejection seamlessly. It was like watching one of those Pictionary matches where the draw-er keeps circling and frantically pointing at the one object she's drawn, rather than accept the fact no one has any idea what it is, and draw it differently.
He finally gets thrown out, and I don't even know WHY he wanted so badly to get tossed because if there's one thing that never changes about the Mets, it's their ardent aversion to MOMENTUM. As soon as things start happening for them, they crack. See: Endy Chavez catch, 2006 NLCS.
ARod knocks another run in the 9th to make it 5-1, Girardi trots out Mo for some reason in the bottom of the inning, I guess in an effort to not make him feel left out after he quilted together a bridge to his closer that consisted of approxiately 2,102 different relievers. But..it worked. So, no complaints.
And that was how the Yanks took Game 1 of the Subway Series.
And this is why the Mets can't have nice things.
On Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to attend a reception hosted by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, an organization that holds a 5K run around Yankee Stadium every year to support their efforts. Last night welcomed Yankee great Roy White to the cause.
The former Yankees outfielder who says he hasn't run for distance since his days in the service, will serve as one of the official starters for the third annual Damon Runyon 5K Run at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 7.
(If you haven't registered and need more details on how you can RUN AROUND THE WARNING TRACK! and the bleachers, the stands, etc without having to worry about knocking into someone balancing a stadium beer cup--all while raising money for cancer--visit the Damon Runyon 5K site!)
Unfortunately, the Cincy game was canceled, it would have been pretty cool to have watched it with him, but the Q&A with him was just as rewarding. PLUS I got to hang out with Jason from the outstanding IIATMS blog. (Check out this recent post, which has been cited around the blogosphere as one of the greatest pieces ever written on the subject. I'm not even remotely exaggerating.)
Of course, I never got to see White play, so I deferred to my dad to give me some insights beyond what the more-than-impressive resume of records and stats could tell me.
"Oooh, you're meeting Roy White?? Yeah, he was a good one. Everyone loved him. He was just a real decent guy, just put his head down and did the work and didn't complain. Just a real good guy."
(And this coming from the guy who thinks Gandhi had ulterior motives.)
Like my dad, I love the Mariano Rivera's of the game. And in life, I suppose. The guys who go to work and just get it done, whose first priority is to do it well, and who don't place any sort of premium on resorting to the bells and whistles that ensure everyone KNOWS they're doing it well. No fist pumps, no brown nosing with the boss, no fluff.
Just...talent. And class.
When I arrived at Mickey Mantle's restaurant, White was sitting in the front of the room with Marty Appel and talking with MLB writer Marty Noble (whose take on the night is excellently captured here), and when he began the Q&A, I was struck by how genuine he was. My sister once told me that most people align themselves in a certain persona or identity or whatever. And then they end up liking things or responding to things in a way that may or may not be how they actually feel, but in a way that coincides with this persona they've chosen to project.
And I'd say that's pretty normal, and pretty accurate, but I didn't see that in White. He was genuine. He wasn't trying to be Johnny Modest or anything. He was proud of what he'd done with the Yankees, but also lightly self-deprecating at times.
It was unassailably awesome.
Some highlights from the endearing White:
On becoming a Yankee:
"When I was brought up, Bobby Richardson was the guy I wanted to pattern myself after. It was amazing. I had watched these guys all through little league, and I was just in awe being among them."
On his unbroken season sac fly record of 17:
"I wouldn't say sac flies are intentional. I wasn't exactly swinging as hard as I could, just enough to make contact. The thing was I always made sure to choke up on the bat. [The sac fly record] is one of the things I'm most proud of. I guess it's not that easy, only because it hasn't been broken yet. Managers talk a lot about small ball, and that was one of the little things I was good at."
On being a clean-up hitter who choked up on the bat:
"It doesn't really cut down on your power, you still have the bat speed. I remember the first time I actually choked up. 1970 Spring Training. I was 0 for 20, and we were playing the O's in Fort Lauderdale. Elston Howard was throwing batting practice. And all I of sudden I felt very relaxed in the box. Elston says, 'hey what are you doing over there?' I told him, 'Just trying something new.' The next thing I knew, I hit a line drive to right field, and I just kept my hands right there on the bat ever since. Right by the NY logo."
"Yeahhh, he's a lot faster than I was. A lot."
On Billy Martin:
"I really liked him a lot. You just never knew what he was gonna do. Once in 1975, we were on a road trip to Oakland. I was on 2nd, there was a runner on first. No out. I moved to third. Lou [Piniella] first squares to bunt, but then gets a base hit to left and I score, and I see Billy Martin coming up. I'm thinking he's gonna give me a high five and instead he says, 'You know, you missed a hit and run.' I knew then that we were playing a different kind of ball."
And lastly, on whether the 233-base stealer could do the 5K:
"Ha, I doubt I could make it one mile!"
(You and me both, White.)
I talked a little with White about how high he'd be ranked in everyone's fantasy leagues if he was still playing. I told him how I hate having to find players with specific stat benefits just to appease certain categories, and why is it ok for a slugger to be absolved of any kind of defensive or base-stealing prowess?
"Yeah, it was a different game back then."
White hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game five times and also switch-hit triples in a game on September 8, 1970, which nobody has ever done more than once in a season.
He had speed, too, and stole 233 bases in his career. He was in double figures in steals every season except for his first and last years, and he stole a career-high 31 bases in 1976 at the age of 32.
His fielding was just as steady as his other talents, and in 1975 he fielded 1.000, the first Yankee ever to play an errorless season.
League-leading performances offensively came in 1972 (99 walks), 1973 (639 at-bats), and 1976 (104 runs).
In 1971 he set the American League record for sacrifice flies in a season with 17.
In the 1976 playoffs his six doubles tied the ALCS lifetime record. His best postseason came in 1978 despite just having come off the disabled list when he hit .313 in the LCS, with a game-winning sixth-inning home run in the clincher, and hit .333 with a home run and four RBI in the World Series.
Roy White was good at everything. And he didn't make a big deal about it. And he still doesn't. He may have tried to pattern himself after Bobby Richardson, but for my money, today's baseball players should be patterning themselves after the guy who played with the timeless dignity and guileless resolve that bolsters our Great American Pasttime.