What a rude welcome home. 1-0. I sailed up to Cooperstown on Sunday afternoon and took in the Yankee game on the radio until I lost reception somewhere around Albany. It was a crisp game on a beautiful day, and the Yanks pulled it out, 2-1. About 20 miles outside of Coopertown, I passed a used bookstore on the side of the road. I couldn’t resist. A sign on the screen door said to be mindful of the cat. There were four older ladies in the store, kneeling on the floor, sifting through piles of murder-mystery paperbacks, yacking it up. They had a small selection of baseball books and dig this, I come away with a good paperback copy of “Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud,” Joe Pepitone’s goombah tell-all; an excellent paperback copy of Roger Angell’s “Five Seaons,” and a good paperback edition of Craigh Wright and Tom House’s book, “The Diamond Appraised,” for $2.15. Good bless the sticks.
I had a productive time in Cooperstown; it was nice to be out of the city for a minute, and it sure is beautiful upstate New York. A tough return home though as the Yankees lost a close one last night in Anahiem. I knew that Javier Vasquez wasn’t going to get out-pitched by Aaron Sele again, and he wasn’t. But Sele was good enough and the Angels bullpen was terrific.
The Yanks had a chance to win the game in the ninth. Troy Percival hit Jorge Posada with a pitch that skipped inside. But did it really hit him? It was a close call and Scioscia came out to argue. Next Hideki Matsui hit a ball on the screws that smacked off Percival. Posada moved to second and Godzilla was thrown out at first. Two out and Bernie Williams smacked the first pitch he saw into right for a single. Posada is hauling ass around third, and he’s got some load to haul. Vlad Guerrero is like Clint Eastwood in right: doom. The throw is on-line but comes in on a few hops. Jose Molina blocks the plate nicely, Posada slides in ahead of the tag, but is called out.
The ump was behind Molina and didn’t have a good view of the plate. Anyhow, the Yanks didn’t get the call, and nobody on their bench put up any fuss. But after watching the replays there were a lot of unhappy campers up late in New York no matter if Posada was really hit with Percival’s pitch or not. The Bombers wasted a solid outing from Vasquez.
The offense couldn’t get going all night. (Kenny Lofton was inexplicably thrown out trying to steal third with Rodriguez up and one out in the eighth). The Angels pitched well, and eventually their offense caught up with Paul Quantrill. But Aaron Sele again? Okay, fine. He won’t get them a third time in a row, believe that. The Red Sox won and are back in first place by a half a game. (Boston doesn’t know when Nomar and Nixon will return. The Sox are still getting better production out of short than the Yankees are.)
Of course, it is easier to get over the loss simply because Randy Johnson’s perfect game was so winning. The smile on his face when he saw how his young catcher was freakin out, going nuts, after recording the final out, was priceless.
Oh and not for nothing, I sure do miss Soriano. Which is not to say that I wish the Yankees had him and not Alex Rodriguez. I’m happy with the trade and I love watching Rodriguez play. But I still miss Lil Sori. Jack Curry has a good piece on Soriano, who is doing just fine with Texas, in the Times today. I like the closing line: “The only bad moment I had,” Soriano said, “was when I heard the trade.”