Saturday, September 09, 2006

And the Hits Keep On Coming

...Against Cory Lidle last night. Lidle got raked by Baltimore, to the tune of six hits, a walk, and six runs, and didn't get out of the second inning. He allowed a homer to Melvin Mora in the first, then saw the runners he left on base plated by Jay Gibbons, who bombed a homer against Jose Veras.

Meanwhile, the Yanks couldn't really touch Erik Bedard. Jason Giambi, still suffering from a wrist (or is it hand?) injury, took an o-fer three. Bobby Abreu also took an o-fer, with a couple of strikeouts to remind us that he's the only Yankee who's been striking out at a higher rate than A-Rod. Mariano Rivera, who'd been expecting to test his sore pitching elbow last night, didn't, and now it's been revealed that Mike Mussina's shoulder is hurting.

Ugh. At least it's September, with the expanded rosters, and the Red Sox are nine games in the rear-view mirror. The Yanks' primary preoccupation has to be their health. At least they have the leisure to sit Mariano, and Moose, and Giambi, in the hopes that they can answer the call less than a month from now.


It was a long four-day week here on the home front. While I wasn't feeding the Weblog, I did contribute a few more pieces at Baseball Prospectus. Early in the week I made my scheduled Game of the Week stop at St. Louis, where Albert Pujols put some three-homer hurt on Pittsburgh Pirates. I feel protective of the Pirates, as for a year and a half I was Prospectus's de facto Pirates beat writer, first with Prospectus Triple Play, before that got canceled, and then with Prospectus Notebook, before we got put on hiatus. Still, it was very hard not to root for Albert to hit a fourth homer, to make it into the record books. The guy is simply phenomenal.

Then, on Wednesday, I happened to be recording the Diamnodbacks-Marlins game on a reader's request, not intending to actually write another article. But, as you may have heard, this little game turned out to be the first no hitter in the major leagues since Randy Johnson did the feat in 2004 for Arizona. So I did a special edition Game of the Week, in which I expressed relief over the end of the Baseball Prospectus Mailing List Curse:

Juan Cruz takes over for the Snakes, walking Dan Uggla before striking out the side. At some point during the last half-inning, the call went out over BP’s internal mailing list, the heads up to tune into this game. This is big, on account of the BP mail system curse.

All right, let me back up. We here at Baseball Prospectus are men and women of science. We don’t believe, without evidence to back it up, in stuff like ghosts, yetis, team chemistry, or the Loch Ness Monster. However, there hasn’t been a no-hitter in more than two years, since Randy Johnson threw a perfect game for the Diamondbacks against the Atlanta Braves. Since May, 2004, countless people on the mailing list have sent in alerts of no-hitters in progress to BP’s authors and contributors. By the time anyone changes channels to watch, it’s usually just in time to see a squib dribble through the infield, or a flare fall in front of a right fielder.

The idea that Destiny is on the BP internal mailing list--and is willing to punish any mention of a no-hitter--is a risible one. The no-hitter drought is a fluke, much in the same way that no-hitters themselves are highly subject to chance. But it doesn’t take all that much frustration to make people start joking about jinxes, and eventually, it stops being funny. By Monday, when the Curse claimed Ramon Ortiz’s no-hit bid against the Cardinals, no one was laughing. It’s time to see a no-hitter again.

I couldn't go into it in a pay article, but I felt a little more than I let on about the Curse. I'd got into that thing where I wondered if maybe I was the jinx. After all, the Curse didn't really seem to get going until I joined BP's internal mailing list (it had existed for quite some time prior to the drought, so I wondered if maybe this wasn't a problem before I came along). The other thing was, the drought was actually longer for me than for most, because I was out of the country when Johnson threw his perfect game, on May 18, 2004. As some of you might remember, if you've followed the blog for that long, when I returned, I saw Tom Glavine's bid at a perfect game foiled, and then I learned that Doug Pappas was dead. For me, that was when the no-hitter drought began, and as I was writing about Anibal Sanchez's no-hitter, I realized that all of these things had become interrelated in my mind. At the time, it struck me as strange that I learned about Doug's death while watching the Mets--Pappas was a Mets fan, and I think he would have loved to see this year's team.

Let's just leave it by saying that I was glad to see the no-hitter drought end.

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