Saturday, May 20, 2006

Condense My Pain

This morning, La Chiquita comments that I'm a baseball junkie.

"You wake up, and the first thing is not where's my coffee, but where's my baseball!" She says with a mix of disapproval and admiration. Thing one for her is the coffee.

She doesn't understand that I have an excuse. Family stuff last night meant that I paid no (as in none, as in zero) attention to last night's game. Luckily, thanks to MLB.tv, I can wake right up on Saturday and see Friday's game--in less than ten minutes.

Now, MLB.tv doesn't work very well for anyone who wants to preserve the surprise of a sporting event--so far, I haven't found a way to access last night's game without knowing what the score was before I clicked the link. In contrast, if you TiVO a game, the TiVO entry doesn't tell you the final score, or include a list of surprise-ruining "highlights." For example, just to call up the video of yesterday's game, I have to face a box that gives me the options of re-playing: "Wright's walk-off single," "Valentin Erases A-Rod," "Beltran's 3-run HR," "Posada Strains Back," "Illegitimate Daughter Chops off Unit's Left Arm," and "Nady's Game-Tying HR." Only one of those isn't real.

It's hard to express optimism for this team right now, even though they're only 2 games out of first. At my family event last night, I was constantly talking to Yankee fans who are friends of the family. Dr. B, who treated us to a Winter League game when we were in D.R. Christmastime before last, also felt kind of silly worrying about Bubba Crosby's injury--but agreed that worry we must. Yankee fan/Piano Man Kenny Davidsen also felt the anxiety of the Yanks' depleted roster, and the fact that so much now relies on a too-young Melky Cabrera. Kenny also gave me the news about the bone chip above Carl Pavano's elbow. Kenny doesn't think that Pavano will ever pitch again, and I think that we should be so lucky. I think we look forward to two more years of Pavano collecting George's checks and hanging out at the periphery, his arrival awaited like Louis Prima's in Big Night.

Having seen the game in condensed, strat-o-matic style (the condensed game gives you results without the setup, for the most part), a few notes:
  • The whole point of getting Randy Johnson was that a 4-0 first inning lead was supposed to hold up. Big Unit versus Jeremi Gonzalez should be one already in the pocket. Two years ago, I think I was saying the same about Javy Vazquez. Ugh.
  • By the way, there should have been more damage in that first inning, since Alex was safe at second base. It was an amazing play and throw by Jose Valentin to make it close, but Matsui just didn't tag his lead foot.
  • Rodriguez has slowed in the last few years. When first I saw the play, I thought that Alex had loafed to second, or taken a wide turn. Nope--I actually cued up the full game just to watch this play--he ran hard the whole way, he just isn't as fast as he used to be. And he was still safe.
  • Whenever the first thing you hear in a Mets inning is "...and Reyes draws a walk," you're in trouble. If this guy could draw seventy walks per season, he would be (in the words of Burgess Meredith) a "very dangerous poyson!"
  • Off-season before last, Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran were available on the free market, and the Yanks picked up Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano (...and Jaret Wright and Tony Womack) instead. How are we feeling about those decisions right now, as Beltran goes yard?
  • OK. Matsui and Crosby and Sheffield on the DL. Now Posada and Farnsworth are having "back tightness" and Bernie Williams is experiencing a Buck Showalter...er, I mean, tightness in his backside. Yeah, this we need...
  • We've been worried about Randy Johnson getting old, but the same concerns have to be aimed at Mariano Rivera, I would think. Not that this is anything new: over the last several years, Rivera has often had stretches which made you wonder if this was the end, and each time he's pulled himself out of it, made an adjustment, whatever. Right now, it just doesn't look like his cutter is working anymore--the man used to make more work for Louisville Slugger than anyone in the league, breaking people's bats. So teams that are able to lay off Rivera's fastball outside of the strike zone are having a jamboree.
The two concerns are that age has finally caught up to Rivera, or that he's hiding an injury (which he's prone to do, particularly with the Yanks playing short like they are now). Again, we've been through this before with Mariano. He's always bounced back, often better than ever. But the one certain thing in baseball is, that the day will come when he doesn't bounce back. It could be next year, or three years from now. Or it could be last night. No way to know, yet.
On that uplifting note, it's the Yanks best pitcher (indeed, perhaps the best pitcher in the AL right now) against Pedro this afternoon. I'll be watching.

2 comments:

Becky said...

I'd say Mo bounced back tonight, yes. I was only listening on the radio, so I don't recall if it was three strikeouts with one or two broken bats. But it *sounded* like Mo looked like Mo, at least...

DJ said...

Yeah, Mariano looked great on Saturday...I think I counted three broken bats.