"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Balls to the Wall

Must we really relive that experience? Come on. Go outside, feel the sun on your face, it’s summer. You don’t want to read about last night’s game, trust me. Call a loved one instead. Remember the times that were good. Find a puppy and cuddle it.

… Still here? Fine, have it your way, masochists. Orioles 3, Yankees 2, but it was so much worse than that makes it sound.

I seem to always be recapping Andy Pettitte’s starts, and as a result I’ve developed a certain empathy for the guy. He returns to New York, he pitches better than anyone could have ever expected, he throws in relief when needed, he goes deep into games, he never complains. And what does he get? Well… okay, he gets $16 million, but still. Is just a tiny bit of run support too much to ask? Rich people have feelings too, you know. Or so I’ve read.

It was an odd start for Pettitte: he struggled badly with his control, walking five (with just two Ks), and in that sense he was fortunate to escape with only two runs allowed in seven innings. On the other hand, at least half the eight hits he allowed were lucky little bloops. The Orioles scratched out a run in the third on a broken-bat single, stolen base, walk, bunt, and groundout. And Pettitte was victimized by a bad misplay in the outfield in the fourth, when Bobby Abreu and Melky Cabrera looked at each other and let a ball hit by (of course) Kevin Millar fall between them; a run scored later in the inning. Pettitte vented a bit after the game – from the Times:

“I’m bitter because we’re not playing good baseball,” Pettitte said. “I feel like we’re a better team than we are, and we’re not getting it done. Not only me, but I hope there’s a whole lot of guys in this room that are frustrated and care a whole lot right now.”

Asked if he was satisfied that other people care as much as he does, Pettitte said: “I hope that everybody else cares as much. I mean, I’m not going around polling everybody. I wear my feelings on my sleeve a little bit on the day I pitch. I only get to play once every five days, and it’s extremely important to me. I think it’s extremely important to everybody else in here. At least, I hope so.”


The Yankees’ only two runs came in the sixth when Miguel “You Can’t Even Mention My Name Online Without Unleashing a Flood of Expletives and Vitriol” Cairo singled and Johnny Damon homered, tying the game. Damon had seen a chiropractor on the off day, and claimed that the guy "discovered immediately that four ribs on the right side were out of place". I’m not a doctor or anything… but does that sound right? How do your ribs get "out of place"? Oh well, if it works it works, psychosomatic or not.

Let me recap the bottom of the 9th for you, I’ll just review it on my Tivo first, and… huh, that’s weird, my eyes are bleeding. We’ll just go from memory then. Scott Proctor came on, Kyle Farnsworth having pitched a surprisingly scoreless 8th, and walked Corey Patterson. (Patterson, by the way, now hitting .224, was 3-3 on the night, and every one of those hits was a little flare that just dunked in; it was that kind of game). Brian Roberts singled. Chris Gomez then tried to bunt, but popped the ball up enough for Proctor to make a quick, full-extension diving grab for the out.


It was a great play – except that he could have thrown to second for another out, and would’ve had Patterson, who was running, by a mile and a half. Proctor seemed to just be too shaken up by his belly flop off the mound, and I suppose you can’t really blame him for that. But after walking it off (pun unintended, but unavoidable), he stayed in the game, threw four straight balls to Nick Markakis, and then pulled a Kenny Rogers ’99 NLCS Special, taking seven pitches to walk Ramon Hernandez and force in the game-winning run.

The big question, of course: why wasn’t Mariano Rivera in the game? He never even warmed up. Now, many managers, not just Joe Torre, refuse to go to their closer in the ninth inning of a tie road game, right or wrong (by the numbers, usually wrong). But even if you won’t do it at the top of the inning, why not a few batters in, when Proctor was so clearly struggling? As our fearless co-leader Cliff pointed out last night via email, this is “Jeff Weaver Syndrome all over again,” and we’ve all seen it before.

So today you can expect much sturm und drang about the loss, which may have been the worst of the season – I’ll have to rank them at some point, I suppose – and about Torre in particular. For me personally, there’s only one thing to do after a game like that. (Link SFW, unless you want the full respect of your colleagues).

Oh… and happy f@#%ing birthday to Derek Jeter, who had two hits and made a nice play on a ground ball as the barrell of a shattered bat rolled right up on his glove. He turned 33 yesterday, and don’t we all feel old now? I hope Torre and Proctor and the rest of the offense remembered to get him something nice. As fate would have it, June 26th was also Abner Doubleday’s birthday – the man who, in myth and legend though unfortunately not in reality, invented baseball in Cooperstown in 1839. See what happens when you forget to send an e-card?

Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email %PRINT_TEXT

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver