Bronx Banter Book Excerpt
Memory Lane: A Truly Blown Save
By Charley Rosen
Here’s the testimony of a onetime Yankee starting pitcher who wishes to remain anonymous:
“I’d pitched on Friday night and I’d partied with all my heart after my complete-game win. I was still hungover and feeling pretty blotto by the time I reported to the Stadium for Saturday’s afternoon game. So I hid from the skipper in the trainer’s room as long as I could, gulping down as many cups of black coffee as my already queasy stomach could take. Still, my eyes were bloodshot, my skin had a yellowish tinge, I felt like someone had driven a spike into my forehead, and it seemed that I was perpetually in danger of tossing my cookies. If the skipper saw me in this condition, his hard stare would be enough for me to vomit on his shoes. So, after cringing in the trainer’s room for about five innings, and squatting on the porcelain throne for two more, I decided to hide out in the bullpen.
“Now one of the team’s veteran relievers had a hard-on for the skipper, but only because he thought the skipper had a hard-on for him. It seems that the pitcher, let’s call him Joe, had one or two top-notch years coming out of the Yankees bullpen and racking up a modest but impressive amount of saves. But as Joe’s slider began to lose its bite, he was only being used in mop-up situations.
“Joe would sit in the bullpen and bitch about how he was being denied the chance to make the money he deserved. ‘Wins and saves,’ he’d say. ‘That’s what pays the big bucks. And here I am wasting the best years of my career only working in blowouts.’
“Anyway, on this particular afternoon, our best reliever had a sore arm, and two other guys had pitched long innings on Thursday night. The only other available relievers were Joe and some raw rookie who couldn’t be trusted to wipe his ass after he took a crap. Meanwhile, our starter was in trouble every inning. Walking guys, hitting two or three, giving up line-drive hits, but barely managing to survive because the other guys made some stupid baserunning mistakes. Plus he was the beneficiary of two outstanding fielding plays that resulted in bang-bang double plays. And our lineup was smashing the shit out of the ball, so we were up by a score of ten to five. It should also be noted that if a reliever pitched three innings to close out a winning game, he’d get a save no matter what the final score was.