Friday, September 07, 2007

Joba's Dad

Sweet win for the Yanks tonight, made all the sweeter because Harlan Chamberlain was in attendance at Kaufman Stadium. Not the start that we were looking for from Ian Kennedy--he allowed seven hits and three walks--all the walks coming in the first inning--in five innings. But he pitched out of trouble, allowing only two runs against the Kansas City offense. That meant he left the game tied, after the team's MVPs, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, went yard against Gil Meche in the top of the second.

After Blockhead Kyle pitched an effective sixth, the Yanks pushed across a run in the seventh on a Bobby Abreu double, and then it was Joba time. Just before Joba's first pitch in the bottom of the seventh, came perhaps my favorite moment of this entire season, as Joba's dad, Harlan, started crying when he finally saw his son take a major league mound, for the first time in person. I'm not ashamed to say that it got dusty in my apartment, seeing how moved the elder Mr. Chamberlain was. Later on, the YES crew caught Harlan's reaction as Johnny Damon made a running catch in left-center for the third out of the seventh inning, which was itself priceless.

It's easy for fans to slag baseball's broadcasts, since for the most part we only notice the things they get wrong--the idiot half-baked opinion of a color commentator, the missed first pitch coming out of commercial. I think the YES production crew deserves a lot of credit for keeping our attention on the section Chamberlain rooters (about 120 Nebraskans who came down with the Chamberlains to Missouri to see Joba pitch) and then getting us those wonderful shots of Harlan Chamberlain as his son warmed up and pitched his two innings. They did a great job, as did Ken Singleton and John Flaherty in the booth. Good work all around.


Things to watch for tomorrow: Derek Jeter got hit in the hand in the eighth, which brings up the question of reprisals during tomorrow's game, and whether or not Jeter, who's been chronically beat up this season, will be able to make the start. We could see Wilson Betemit get some playing time against the Royals best pitcher, Brian Bannister, tomorrow.

The Yankees won coin tosses for any ties for the Wild Card at the end of the season. So should Detroit or Seattle get even with the Bombers for the last AL playoff spot, that game would be played at the Stadium. Speaking of the Tigers and Mariners, the two teams played tonight, with Detroit coming out on top. The Mariners remain in the meltdown state that saw them drop nine in a row coming into the series they just lost against the Yankees.

Probably the most distasteful thing I've seen today has been people listing the Rick Ankiel story--that back in 2004 (when he was still a pitcher, IIRC) Ankiel took HGH--as being on the same level as Tony Larussa's DUI incident, and and the drunk-driving death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock. Ankiel only endangered himself, and that allegedly three years ago. Larussa and Hancock endangered everybody else on the road, and Hancock tragically lost his life. In a statement to the press, St. Louis GM Walt Jocketty called the Ankiel story "very tragic" (if it's true) which given the other things that have happened to his team this year, is a good indication that he does not know what that word, tragic, means.

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