"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Cool Breeze

I had my first real good laugh of the baseball year tonight. It was just a small thing, but sometimes, well, it’s the little things that do it to you. Erstwhile Yankee first baseman Travis Lee–we hardly knew ye–was batting against Mike Mussina in the top of the fourth inning of the Yankees-Devil Rays exhibition game at Legends Field. I was only half-watching when Mussina delivered an 0-2 breaking ball that just missed the outside corner for strike three. Mussina glared in at the home plate ump. He came back with the same pitch, only this one was lower, and well out of the zone. Lee did not chase it. So Mussina comes back and floats a change-up around Lee’s eyes. Lee swung and missed and I instinctively started laughing. Anyone who has ever taken a Conan swing in whiffle ball could empathize with what Lee was thinking. How do you lay off such a pitch? And how do you have the chutzpah to throw it?

Emily didn’t get what was so funny. Man, baseball slapstick can be so obvious (the blooper reels they play between innings on the Jumbo Tron), and yet so subtle, the ultimate inside joke. I couldn’t help but immediately jump to the fantasy of Mussina getting a quality lefty like David Ortiz out on a bullcrap pitch like that sometime, oh, round October. Yeah, I’m about good and ready for the season to start. You?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver