9 minutes ago
AND WE'RE BACK!
My buddy Ollie has the audio recording of him when he was 5, he was calling a world series game, and it's more or less the more adorable thing in the history of life.
Half of the reason is because he's exactly the same nut job back then as he is now (as evidenced by the fact you can hear his mom in the background saying things like "Honey, stop eating the microphone" and his commentary may or may not included the line, "Brett Butler is wearing a shin guard that looks like a shoe.")
But my favorite line of it, and the one that is so particularly relevent, is when he triumphantly announces, "BASEBALL'S ON!"
Yes. Yes, it is.
(PS Happy birthday, Ollie!)Ok, yeah, so we lost opening day. We also lost opening day in 2009. And just like 2009, I missed the game, to some extent. Not really, I did watch it and listen to it while I was 10,000 feet above ground, flying from San Francisco to NY. (Which is a little like the opposite of the situation in 2009, when I was "under" rather than "over." A stretch maybe, but semantics.)
I remember in 2009 thinking that I felt like one of the Who's in Whoville on Christmas morning. The Grinch, aka all the Yankee haters, were expecting us NYY fans to be all abysmally upset etc and were all ready to delight in our dismay, but instead, all they found was a big group of fans who were just so deliriously happy to have baseball back in our lives.
Also, I was coming out of anasthesia, so maybe I felt like a Who because I was even more batshit crazy than normal. Tough to say.
I DID miss the salami that Fatso gave up. (Ha, I just realized the ironic beauty of that sentence.) HOWEVAH, the first thing I thought when I saw this was that it was Good Friday and this was basically sacrilege on Pena's part. Not supposed to be enjoying meat. (Pause.)
Anyways, it was a blessing that wi-fi wasn't available at that point, we were still ascending I guess, so when I was could log on, the game was 4-2 which didn't exactly strike the kind of alarm that, say, a 4-0 game in the first inning would have. Be that as it may, I still want to crush "James" from American Airlines for giving my seat away on my 7:05am flight.
(For the record, I think it should go without saying that I obviously was in SF for work, and that I typically--or, ever--make a point of scheduling trips that fall squarely on the beginning days of my lunar year, aka baseball season. You know me better than that, yeah?)
Some points from the game:
It bears repeating: I AM SO F'N HAPPY THAT BASEBALL IS BACK. I'd like to recall the words of yet another 5 year old, whose enthusiasm over ice cream mirrors mine over baseball.
Carlos Pena went 3 for 5 and was indisputably the star of the game. A salami against the formidable Round Boy. A walk-off against the even more formidable Mo. To beat the Evil Empire on Opening Day. Good on you, Pena.
Also, you are the worst fantasy player in the history of ever. So I'm comfortable in prediction that this single-game performance means that you will now go hitless for the next month and screw up millions of rosters the world over. I hope you're proud of yourself.
You know who IS proud of himself? Maddon. Apparently, Pena was slated to bat in the 7 hole, which would make sense considering he batted an anemic .107 last year with the Cubs. Which is pathetic beyond the telling of it, really. But then Maddon, because he's sooooo brilliant, changed his mind and put him in the 6th spot.
I hate when this happens, it's the equivalent of a guy watching a basketball game, taking note of a weak chest pass in the first 20 seconds of the game, and announcing authoritatively, 'THAT'S IT. THE'S GAME OVER. THEY JUST LOST IT RIGHT THERE.' And then, should that team actually lose (a scenario of which there is a 50-50 chance of occurring), the guy preens and purports his sheer genius.
Similarly, Maddon thinks he is earmarked for Mensa membership now because he moved Pena up one spot. He's so intuitive! Grumble grumble. Go hang a salami. Oh wait, he did. Roar.
Pena on his big day:
"Your heart starts racing in that moment and you try to control yourself as much as possible," Pena said. "I tried to slow myself down and breathe and take it one pitch at a time, as easy as you can possibly make it. Instead of building the situation up, you try to bring it down."
Does this not remind anyone else of that scene in Clueless when Brittany Murphy is recounting her "brush with death at the mall"?
"Was it like a montage, Carlos?"
"Hmm..not a montage, but right before the ball gets to the plate, your mind just gets like very clear."
Arod pipes in with, "Well, I know when I hit 10 ribbies against you in the last game of '09.."
Any baseball fan worth his salt would concede that this game had more than a few instances that liken it to Marble Madness Silly Race thematics.
And nothing underscores this contention more than what happened in the 9th inning.
It was too ridiculous for it to dismantle me too much. It'd be like if someone broke up with you so that he or she could date a circus clown. You can't waste too much time being devastated because it's such a freak occurrence that the ludicrousness of it all almost eclipses this fundamental misfortune at the heart of the matter.
Mariano Rivera came in to lead the Yankees to an Opening Day victory. To protect a 1-run lead that the Yanks valiantly fought for after being in a 4-0 hole in the first inning. He came in, as he has been doing for years, and he threw his 92 mph cutter, as he has been doing for years, and he threw it high. If it wasn't outside, it was in their wheelhouse.
Mariano Rivera has a 54.00 ERA right now because his line for the day was 23 pitches, 6 batters, 3 hits, 2 BB, 2 runs.
23 pitches? Sweet Christ. I was watching the Kansas City game last night and Chen had through 60 pitches in 5 innings. Mo couldn't even get out of a fraction of an inning.
But think about it. You know every hater is jumping up and down flapping his arms shrieking about how THIS IS IT! I KNEW IF WE KEPT SAYING MO WAS A HAS BEEN THAT EVENTUALLY IT'D BE TRUE! He's Mo. He's like the Gene Hackman of MLB. He may always look kind of old, but he never actually gets old.
And Carlos Pena hit like Roy Hobbes yesterday. He had to get it out of his system, and so did Mo. I may be completely rationalizing this. (And by "may be," I mean "100%".) But I'm happy about the Yankees.
Outside of the Silly Race Game moments, there were basic Contra-esque moments, the moments that occurred with the predictability of the updownupdownleftrightleftrightselectstart-ness of Yankee magnificence:
Coming from behind with aplomb and deliberate aggression
They hit the ball on the screws. 9 hits. NINE I love that number! Think about last year, how disgruntled we all were because they couldn't hit water if they fell off a boat. Seriously, think about what he were all miffed about.
Arod not acting like a clean up hitter.
Their aloofness when it came to coming back from behind.
Even the relief pitching came into play, because we wouldn't be Yankee fans if we didn't reserve a special part of our hearts and souls for wavering degree of concern over our middle relievers.
And look what we saw yesterday:
- Arod going 2 for 3, with 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. (I just learned he's hit in all 8 opening days he's played for with the Yanks.)
- Hits from the top to bottom of lineup (not just the bottom, which was weirdly the case for a good chunk of last year)
- Coming back from a disarming grand slam against our ace in the first inning
- Relief pitchers working out of jams and throwing up pleasing 0.00 donuts (D-Rob is my moon goddess, and I base this on the fact that a runner on 3rd with no outs is the same thing to him as 2-outs with a 2 strikes, and no one on.)
Yeah, I'm happy about the Yankees.
They're going to win the World Series.
"...that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."