These are 2 pieces about Andy Pettitte that I wrote when I covering the playoffs for the Village Voice. One of my all time favorite readers/Yankee fans is also one of Andy's all time greatest advocates, so these are for her. Cheers, Charmian!
From The Village Voice, October 19, 2009:
When you live by yourself, you can go hours without speaking. You don't realize it, but then sometimes you wake up on a Sunday after a baseball game and call your parents at noon only to discover you lost your voice.
Actually, "lost" isn't the right word. I know exactly where I left it...somewhere in the left field second tier of Yankee Stadium.
Game 3 of the ALCS is Monday at 4:13, so I'm figuring that it's a blessing in disguise that my voice is taking a personal day or 2. Because a day game means following the action at work. A day game means screaming and otherwise strident activity is prohibited.
(Unless I want to remove any lingering doubts about my emotional stability in the fall...)
After taking the first 2 of a 7-game series, the Yankees head out to Anaheim to face the Angels (who, for the record, are NOT in a must-win situation. Yet.) Saturday night's circus match-up left both teams exhausted, drained, and sluggish (which I think may have had something to do with the obscene number of errors put up.)
But it was the Yankees whose resource-depletion wasn't all for naught. Between both teams, 13 pitchers were used and 432 pitches thrown. I don't want to think about what would have happened if the game had to go another inning or two thus necessitating the need call upon our absolute final bullpen option, Chad Gaudin.
Let's hope the day and half of rest is enough for them to back up Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16) when he goes up against Jered Weaver (16-8, 3.75). I can't preview an Andy start without dedicating it to "WTCYC"...and of course, without mentioning that a win would set a record for pitcher with most postseason wins (16).
It was many and many a year ago,
In a borough by NYC,
There lived a pitcher who you may know,
By the name of Andy P.
And this pitcher he lived with no other thought,
Than to play for the team the Yankees.
He was a child and I was a child,
In this borough by NYC,
But he pitched with a fire that was hard to ignore,
The Yankees and Andy P.
With a spark that the bitter AL contenders,
Coveted our Andy P.
And this was the reason that long ago,
In this borough by NYC,
The Houston Astros stole him from us,
Our beautiful Andy P.
So that his southern kinsmen came,
And bore him away from me.
To shut him up in a NL club,
Far from the borough by NYC.
The agents, not half so happy with Yankees,
Went envying his pulchritude,
Yes! That was the reason (as all fans know,
In this borough by NYC),
That the Houston Astros came out of the south,
Wheeling and dealing our Andy P.
But our bond, it was stronger by far than the bond,
Of one on Houston's team,
Of one with Clemens' team.
And neither the roots in Texas's earth,
Or the pull of free agent trade,
Could ever dissever our boy from the Bronx,
Our beautiful Andy P.
For Frank never sings, without reminding us of rings,
Of the beautiful Andy P.
And his dynasty days, are coming back into play,
Our beautiful Andy P.
All his postseason nights, he continues to fight,
Our starter--Yanks' starter--an ace and our light.
In the home by NYC,
In the stadium near NYC...
Somewhere, Poe is rolling over in his grave right now. The ultimate indignity--a Boston native having his art spliced up into a Yankee ode. (Although, this guy probably has it worse...)
Hopefully our boy can continue the Yanks' postseason run on Monday. If nothing else, the weather conditions should a be a bit more comfortable. (I wonder if they would rather play in perfect weather on the road or freezing torrential downpour at home? I'm guessing the latter, but if someone asked me the same question, I'd rather watch the game from the bad guys' house. But then again, this could be the voiceless-achy-sore-quasi-sick-thanks-to-freezing-rain-for-3-innings part of me talking.)
The Yanks have a good chance to go up 3-0 depending on how well their pitching holds up. If Pettitte can go deep into the game, Girardi can take advantage of the fact Joba and Hughes were only lightly applied to Saturday's game. By the same token, the Yanks need to continue their erosion of Anaheim's starters, chasing them early so they can feast on their pen.
Weaver is hit or miss on the mound, but it almost seems like he's lately developed this aggressive assurance that makes him think he can attack batters with his 4-seamer. I'd love to see him "attack" the Yanks' 0-9-line with his innocuous low 90's heat.
The Angels' line-up is only batting .158 in the ALCS to New York's .288. Neither team has been particularly overpowering on offense, so this game may be the one where everyone resumes their true identity and bannishes these multi-error/hitless impostors. There's no rain to blame it on.
But never underestimate Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. As far as they're concerned, every ump call has been "blown," with each one altering the outcome of the game. Also, the World According to T-Mac contends that:
"Something doesn't look right with Mariano Rivera."
"The threat of a steal is worse than the steal itself."
Or my personal favorite, from Friday night's play at first:
"Torii Hunter had the best view of it, and he was sure he was safe!"
I think T-Mac would be better served to point fingers at Vladimir "King of the Menacing Stare Down" Guerrero, who is 2-for-11 in the series, having left 10 runners on base in the two games, while striking out four times.
Or, you know, I guess we could stick with his airtight logic. We could also have high school students score their own SAT exams.
Time to go up 3-0, Yanks. A-Rod did his part to exile the choker broken record. Now would be a good opportunity to do the same for the 2004 ALCS headache.
And from the October 24, 2009 Village Voice:
Ahhh, it feels good to be back in the Bronx. (I say that as if I was the one traveling across the country to play in Anaheim, but it's more like sympathy jetlag. It feels so good for the Yankees to be back.)
I may or may not have this same sunny disposition when I'm sitting in the left field bleachers in 3 hours, soaked to the bone, freezing, and packed like sardines in a hi-tech tin can, as we wait for the inevitable rain delay to run its course.
But patience isn't one of my strong suits, so given the choice of sitting through monsoon and getting the game in today, or postponing Game 6 of the ALCS til lovely Sunday afternoon...well, I'd just like to finish off the Angels as soon as possible. Do your worst, nature.
UPDATE, 6:54PM: GAME CALLED, RESCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY NIGHT AT 8:20PM.
Well, uh, you got me this time, Nature. But I'll be back, I'll get you in the next round, Gadget!
Ok, well, a look at what's going down tomorrow night:
After losing 2 of 3 in Anaheim, the Yankees return to the Bronx where they need to win 1 of 2 in order to advance to the final showdown with the Phillies, who have been patiently waiting for their AL competition to be determined.
And after getting all decked out in my rain-resistant best, hopped up on adrenaline et al, I find out the game's cancelled.
Is there anything worse than sitting through rain delays? ("Stepping in dog shit," deadpans my dad. Uh, touche.) Last Saturday, my buddy asserted that he'd be ok with sitting through a storm as long as he knew it was going to end in a walk-off win. Well, yeah, I'd be ok with sitting through the director's cut of Sex and the City, a ballet, war, and 108 degree heat while wearing a wool turtleneck...if I knew it was going to end in a win.
Is is for the best? Probably. I mean, I have to now do laundry tonight, since I consider an article of clothing dirty the second it leaves the drawer, and I have to wear the same Good Luck Outfit tomorrow. The trials and tribulations of being an OCD freak during the playoffs.
Well here's what the game was going to look like tonight (as it will tomorrow, only sans the miserable buckets pouring down on the field)...
The Yanks send postseason vet Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16) up to face Joe Saunders (16-7, 4.60). Once again, we're all mired in do-or-die pitching tautologies. "If goes to Game 7, then Lackey pitches against CC, but if we win Game 7 then we're CC-less for Wednesday..." etc etc.
These are immaterial and perhaps made sense in Games 1 and 2, but in the tail end of the second most important series of the year, we're playing every game like there's no tomorrow. (Actually, from the looks of the sky right now, there actually may not be a tomorrow. To quote from my mom, "Tsk..some poor girl is getting married today..." And some poor fiance is missing the game.)
I'll be back tomorrow with more game insights before I head to the stadium, but for now, here's a little Andy Pettitte music to soften the cruel blow of a baseball-less evening:
I remember all my life
Rainin' down as cold as ice
Shadows of the ghosts,
An ace on a mound
Pitchin' in the night
The night goes into
Extras, just another game
Other Yank fans feel the same,
Lookin' in their eyes
I see a memory
We feel it coming
How happy you made me, oh Andy!
Well, you came and you pitched without walkin'
And you gave us the win, Oh Andy!
Well, you deal and you whiff without balking,
And I need you today. Oh, Andy!
I'm standing on the edge of clinch,
One more win, you're gold in a pinch,
Caught up in a world of pennant chasing,
The title in our grasp
And nothin' is rhyming, oh Andy!
Well, you pitched and you blanked all the batters,
When we gave you the nod, oh Andy!
And the postseason win record shattered,
And I need you today, oh Andy!
Last game's all done,
We face the Game 6,
Cheering the close out,
The World Series is calling, oh Andy!
Well, you pitched and you came through as always,
And we knew you'd do so, oh Andy,
Well you pitched without ceasing to amaze,
And I need you today, oh Andy!