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May 1, 2012
Oh, Phil. There are few things more confusing, more frustrating, and more depressing than realizing that something that was once there is gone. And by "something," I mean a skill. Any skill. Discovering that what once came easily, and made life smoother, is now inexplicably challenging beyond the telling of it.


I mean, this past weekend I was trying to teach myself this song Rondo Capriciosso, a song I played in piano recitals probably 20 years ago. I was so young that I still measured a song's impressiveness by virtue of how many pages it was, not unlike how the measure of a book's sophistication was how many chapters it had.

And I couldn't do it. I thought my fingers would have remembered everything once they got going, and they did actually. They knew where they were supposed to go and the keys they were supposed to play. The problem was that they just couldn't physically do it. I'm not arthritic. I'm only 31. And my hands presumably should be covering more ground, now that they've outgrown their 10 year stubbiness.

But for whatever reason, I couldn't do it. Yeah, I''m not giving up on it. I think I can probably have it all down by the end of the month. But the point of this allegory is that I'm just as fascinated by people's inability to do things as I am their ability to do things.

(Not me, obviously. But basically by the time I got to the part at the 5 min mark, my fingers all but said, "You are outside of your mind, foo'.")

Shouldn't everything be mind over matter? How can Phil Hughes go from being Old Reliable/Lights Out...to being completely useless on the mound without even so much as a post-DL recovery curve as an excuse?

To be clear, Phil Hughes lost on Tuesday night to a team that hasn't beat the Yankees since the Reagan administration. Showalter was happy, all 1000th win and everything. But in that kind of annoying, kind of endearing way where he acts like it's not a big deal so he can perpetuate this whole Coach Norman Dale "Nuttin' but bidness, I'm old school" mentality.

It's a little funny actually since he's all "Yeah, I'm grateful for the fans, I'm just an old goat." And then he's fielding text messages galore (as he should) but dexterity with texting is my litmus test of middle age vs old.

Old people can't text. Middled aged people can. Parents fall into neither category, because parents as a rule will never understand texting, whether it's how to technically send a text, or whether it's what constitutes appropriate text content.

And, oh yeah, he's 55.

Old goat my ass.Though he could just be referring to how he sees himself. Literally.
I can see it, sort of.
So, in all seriousness though, Congrats to Buck. 1 love milestones. And even more than that, I love watching players mob their coach (in a celebratory way, though I don't know if I've actually ever seen them mob in a gang-related-crime way.)

Anyways, I think seeing people genuinely happy for one another is one of the greatest sights in the world. And I love LOVE how Baltimore embraces every opportunity they can to act like they just hit a walkoff in game 7 of the world series.

Ha, I have a place in my heart for the O's because of that day, the day that every baseball fan knows as the greatest 15 minutes of baseball ever. Except for Boston and Atlanta, who probably have other ideas.

So I think the Yankees should look long and hard (pause) at Hughes, because I don't think it's a coincidence that the day he pitches against our safety school, that every one who was in some kind of streak of badness...snapped out of it.

To be fair, it wasn't a HORRIBLE outing if you just look at the number of hits he let up. But if you look at where the hits landed, then yeah, pretty horrible.

It's like in "The Natural" when the coach is telling Roy Hobbes about Memo Paris:


"I'd better tell you something. You're a grown man. What you do with your personal time is your own business. I got it in the back of my mind, that girl's bad luck. I love her. But I believe that bad luck has a way of rubbing itself off on other people."


Here's what I mean:

  • Buck gets his 1000th win against a team he hasn't been able to beat in any of the 5 meetings this season.
  • Matusz ended his 11-month losing streak. He had been 0-12 with a 10.47 ERA in 14 starts since, the longest active losing streak in the majors. Nick "I look like a hamster and am roughly as mobile as one" Johnson doubled to end an 0-for-29 skid at the start of the season.
  • Nunez, after being Bugs Bunny in the outfield yesterday, misplayed a ball in semi-retarded Poppel fashion.
  • The Yanks loaded the bases for Arod, who fouled out to the catcher on the first pitch.'

And now there's what Hughes had to say about it:

(Wait for it.)

"Overall, tonight was the best stuff I had all year."

Is this something they learn from their PR reps? What's with the AJ Burnett-esque penchant for being all chipper after getting shelled?

Seriously, I feel like pitchers post-mortem interviews always fall into one of a couple of buckets:

1) "The Mike Mussina"--Blaming the umps for a bad call that somehow was so disruptive it made pitcher incapable of performing effectively.

2) "The Idle Hands"--Acknowledging the ineffectiveness but implying that he thought he was doing everything right so he is just as perplexed as everyone else as to why his pitches weren't going where he wanted them to.

3) "The AJ Burnett" --The insistence that he was great and everything went exactly as planned.

4) "The Adrian Gonzalez" --Divine intervention. God's plan.

5) "The Mo"--Reminder that he's not a machine and he is in fact human and will give up runs.

6) "The Yankee Excuse" --How is anyone expected to really even pitch against a line up that stacked?


See, but none of those are what I want to hear. Ok, maybe the God's plan one is kind of hysterical. It's not that I want an apology, but I want to see the pitcher beating himself up over it. Big time.

I mean, not in a Donnie Moore way of course, God no. But in a Scottie Smalls kind of way.

I'd be a lot my sympathetic if a pitcher said, "There's nothing that can be said about what I did here today, that is any worse than what I already think myself. What happened on the field today makes me feel like less of a man. I hold myself in contempt and encourage you all to do the same."

But really what I'd like to see is Andy Pettitte back in the rotation. Hughes is not going to regain his stuff. It is in fact a little like human relationships, in the sense that once there are chinks in the armour, there's no going back.

There's no ignoring them, and there's no way to repair them. All you can do is decide whether or not you're going to work extra hard to make it work despite the pitfalls. Or whether it's time to admit defeat.

Let's hope Nova keeps his own streak going today. And if possible, let's focus on the positive. We didn't get shut out. Granderson hit a home run. Two of the O's runs came off the bats of ex-Yankees* (I don't know how this is a positive, exactly). And no one died.

*Nick Johnson and Betemit. Chris Davis has another (C. Davis. Would have been cooler if it were Chili.

1 Comment:

  1. John M said...
    I went to the game, and Hughes was not the Phil Phranchise of old, but he wasn't bad. Hell, CC gives up 4 or 5 runs with regularity, including some dingers, and he's an 'ace.'

    I like Phil, always have, and last year's injury and this year's start (after a nice spring) are simply sad. But last night wasn't sad, it just wasn't that great. Logan and our favorite high-priced head case, Mr. Soriano, were the ones who made the game a non-game. That and the fact that Girardi put only half a lineup at the plate, with an exciting group of interstate hitters (Martin as a DH? really?).

    Oy.

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