Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Joy And Pain In Mudville

Playoff baseball is the best. The. BEST. If you don't believe me, then you have not watched any of the last several nights of October MLB drama.

Saturday was a little painful because I thought a few times that the Angels were going to pull that one out. Sunday's Phils v. Doyers game was no contest from the first pitch. But yesterday, oh boy, yesterday was a different story.

Yesterday's Angels v. Yankees game was hard to watch in the beginning. Those idiot announcers, Tim McCarver especially, were so jonesing for a Yankees win, talking about the return of the Yankees mystique and how they were going to roll through the rest of the playoffs, with only Philadelphia being the worthy opponent. That was after Johnny Damon's home run. Then Howie Kendrick hit a cutter to the Angels bullpen. All of a sudden two runs didn't seem like such a big deficit. Still though, my spirits were low. I had the game on, and was pretending like I was going to get some reading done while it was going. I drifted in and out of sleep, until about two pitches into Vladdy's at-bat. Still coming to, Vlad launched one to that same bullpen that had also become recently acquainted with Howie's homer a couple innings earlier, a surge of adrenaline rushed through my veins and immediately I was on my feet coaxing that ball from 650 miles away to clear that leftfield wall. And then it did, and we had a new game, 3-3.

I hate Tim McCarver with a passion. Is it possible to be more in love with the Yankees than any announcer in baseball? My disdain was aroused when he mentioned Izturis missing the squeeze play last year that cost the Angels a run in the Boston series. Moron, it was Aybar. No matter, Izturis couldn't drive in Aybar that inning anyway. Then Abreu overran second base and Derek Jeter made the play at second base. Jeter was the second player backing up the throw from Cabrera in centerfield, and no one even had to tell him to throw to second base, can you believe that??? Well, Jeter is also a member of MENSA in addition to being a future Hall of Famer. I also heard his tears cure cancer. Spare me. Admittedly, it was a great play, but can you guys please get your noses out of there? Your noses are all brown now and it's scaring the children.

The worst, however, came when Mathis hit the leadoff double in the 10th that looked like it was going to close the game. Wait...Scioscia isn't pinch running Willits for Mathis??? I just don't understand! How can he not want that additional foot speed on the base paths??? Uh, maybe because Mathis is an excellent defensive catcher and you don't want to lose the game on a passed ball. Don't forget that Mathis also threw the laserbeam that doubled as a baseball that eliminated the speedy Gardner from the base paths that would have provided the go-ahead run for the Yankees had he been on base when Posada hit the bomb to center-rightfield by the Adenhart poster. And nevermind that Mathis also blocked four balls in the dirt that eventually struck out the Yankee hitter when there were two on base with only one out. Scioscia should have definitely pinch ran Willits for Mathis, and then put in Bobby Wilson to catch the rest of the game. Don't forget that Bobby Wilson is also the guy who...wait...who is he again? Oh yeah, he was the everyday catcher for the Salt Lake Bees, that other Major League team, that...what? What do you mean the Bees are a Triple A team? You mean the only MLB catching experience he has was from this past season? 11 MLB at-bats in his career? Well, yeah, put that guy in! Pin your hopes of getting back into this series on a guy behind the plate with 19 games under his belt. Good idea, Tim.

Well, newly anointed Yankees killer, Howie Kendrick gets a two-out single in the 11th and now Mathis is back up to bat. Girardi makes several questionable pitching changes, Mathis ropes a double to center-leftfield. Game over.

I have to admit, after Game 2, I told my roommate that I thought he should move Guerrero out of that cleanup spot, move up Kendry or Juan, and take our chances with them. The guy couldn't have looked worse, right? Well, I had also forgotten that Vlad was actually 4/10 in the Boston series, and he hadn't been doing any worse than those other two guys I mentioned. Actually, those guys have been all but nonexistent thus far in the postseason. Scioscia, this is why you have a championship ring and why I'm sitting on the couch avoiding my homework watching you inch us closer to the series. You smart, I dumb. You big, I small. I bow to your managerial prowess, especially after you called that pitch-out. I'm sorry. You are the best manager in all of baseball.

Normally I'm the cautiously hopeful type when I watch sports. I have years and years of should-have-beens under my belt, so I try and temper my excitement, but I feel like this Angels team is different. If I were a betting man, I'd call my bookie today and put money on them to escape from this series in seven games. I'm serious. There have been several moments when I've really felt like this is a team of destiny.

I'm also super spiritual, and while I don't want to imply that these impressions are actually revelations coming from a divine source, I do feel it incumbent upon me to inform you that once I had the distinct impression that some salsa had gone bad, and I told my buddy not to eat it, but he did anyway and then he totally got food poisoning, so you be the judge.

Sorry to all the Dodgers fans out there reading this blog, i.e. Laura. I hurt for you. I can't say that I'm rooting for them like you, but I know your investment and was rooting for them in your behalf. I left the game at the top of the ninth inning sure that the series would be tied up when I came back. Ouch. Sorry. It hurts to be in Mudville when Casey can't connect and then Broxton somehow gets lit up in the bottom of the ninth right when it looks like you guys are about to tie the series. I'm speaking from my own playoff ghosts of seasons past. But it's pretty great when Casey hits an extra-base knock in extra innings to inject new life into a series.

History shows that pitchers going on short rest in the playoffs are pretty bad. They have something like a 20-34 record, or something like that. Sabbathia was never a postseason beast anyway, so I'm liking our chances today. But I did forget that the Angels were going to lay down and let the Yankees walk all over them on their way to the World Series so that they wouldn't muddy their cleats. Sorry.

No way, Angels in 7.

You're still an idiot Tim McCarver.


kent said...

man that game was incredible. i'm glad we won that game. i wasn't sure if we were going to be able to pull out a win after that tough loss in game 2. that blown save by fuentes was so hard to watch. but to claw back in this game after that hard loss shows we have some guts and that we arent going to roll over and get swept.

tonight's game is almost as important as yesterday's game. beating cc would be a huge blow to the yankees, plus we cant go down 3-1 like the dodgers. its not an impossible hurdle to overcome, but its very, very difficult. especially with the series eventually going back to ny.

Dave said...

You told me that salsa had gone bad AFTER I ate it! Jerk.

I have to agree with everything in this post. I absolutely LOVE playoff baseball. I was watching the game in a bar at John Wayne Airport while I was waiting for my 3 and 1/2 hour delayed flight to San Francisco. That whole bar was audibly willing that ball over the fence. What was really cool too was how I kinda became besties with some guy standing next to me as we talked about the Angels and supported them to that very important victory. I was thinking how cool it is that baseball can bring two strangers together; unite fellow man in a brotherhood of peace and excitement; inspire random high-fives with strangers...

That is, until my playoff-watching buddy asked me if he could use my cell phone to call the dude who was picking him up in San Francisco. His reason for needing my phone? "I don't have a phone right now." Turns out my airport-bar-playoff bestie is some kind of deadbeat.

Maybe I shouldn't be so weird about it, but for some strange reason, I HATE letting random strangers use my cell phone. A cell phone seems so personal. Maybe it's the hypochondriac in me, but I don't like some stranger's face to be all up in my phone. I don't like the awkward nature in which you must explain to them how to operate your phone to place a simple call. I don't like that some random person has my cell number in their phone as a reference for dead-beat playoff fan guy. It's just weird.

All I'm sayin' is I definitely think Angels in 7.

Silvs said...

That Game 2 WAS hard to watch. I really felt like it was ours to lose, and then we did. I was upset that Fuentes hung that pitch out over the plate to Rodriguez, because other than that lone pitch, he actually did really well in that inning.

Dave, I think you're being a little sensitive with your cell phone. If it were you, wouldn't you want someone to do you a solid and let you use his phone? But I guess maybe what you're really upset about aren't his germs, necessarily, but that you felt like the real friendship that you thought you had formed with this stray man in an airport bar was actually built on nothing but his need to find someone who would loan him a phone.

I hate when someone makes me feel like I'm just a means to an end. During my freshman year in college, I had this roommate who didn't have a car and I thought we were pretty tight so I ended up making a copy of my car key so that he could use it if I wasn't around. Then one time he felt like he had such free reign with my car that he even let another friend of mine borrow it. Not knowing he had done this, I went out to the DT parking lot and couldn't find my car. Mind you, it's not a big lot, so I realized pretty quick that it wasn't there. Have you ever had the very sinking feeling that your car has been stolen?

Well, needless to say, the Angels are tying this thing up today.

Dave said...

That's why we're not as good of friends anymore...

I bought my own car.

Dave said...

By the way...

If you are looking for more reasons to hate the Yankees, then check this out: