Crazy Yankee Chick: Running Diary of Series Clincher
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW YORK YANKEES ON SWEEPING THE AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES!
Instead of a straight recap, we're doing it running-diary style. Because years from now when I'm locked up and under observation for some new breed of manic psychosis, these entries will be invaluable to the attending physicians.
I used my black moleskin book to take notes on everything, and when I started transcribing this a few hours ago, I became acutely aware of the regressing legibility. While the first few innings of the game were comprised of neatly delineated observations, by the time the latter half of the game rolled around, my notes looked like the work of a malfunctioning polygraph needle.
Here we go...
7:16 Can't they put the white out on Jorge's nails more than 20 seconds before he's about to play?
7:19 As my dad would say, "What'd you do after you shaved today, Andy?"
Pettitte has 5:00 shadow. I'm fine with this if he pitches brilliantly. I will point to this in rage if he doesn't.
7:20 This strike zone is smaller than a Coney Island Name-on-a-Grain-of-Rice bendant. Pettitte just threw the same exact pitch twice, each with different calls. I guess the umps need an inning of calibration?
7:26 Off speed pitching killing us so far. A-Rod strikes out. "The bigger the hitter, the bigger the slider, the bigger the....uh, crowd noise." Thanks, TBS.
7:27 Pavano dealing. Shit. Also, Pavano was compared to Hideki in terms of post-injury recovery. I can't think of a more motivating factor for Hideki to take him deep.
7:28 Well, not that at-bat, I guess. Hideki down on strikes.
7:29 First booth error. Pavano won 18 games, not 20, in 2004.
7:30 Why didn't Colorado get a Dome? Tampa Bay and Minnesota get them, but not for the Rockies? I don't think any of 'em should have 'em. Weather is unpredictable. You can't plan for everything. Sack up, domed-stadiums cities.
7:41 Pavano's nose is about as overwhelming as CC's fat. Also, he definitely just rolled his eyes at Cano for taking too long to settle in the batter's box.
7:42 So the announcers are way too fascinated with the first-pitch stat. It's starting to sound like the Office episode when Dwight's like, "It's not fine. How many more people to get hurt before we stop and do something about it? One? Two? Three? Four? Wait, no, let me finish..Five? Six?...Seven?"
7:45 Swish takes his base. On a 2-2 count. Very promising. Way to have your head in the game. 4Ks already from Pavano tonight. Sweet Christ.
7:46 "And the first batter to whom Pavano's thrown ball 1." Good grief. Can we stop the running tally now?
7:47 INFIELD SINGLE! I CANT BELIEVE IM SO EXCITED ABOUT AN INFIELD HIT OFF CARL PAVANO. I WILL NOW CHEW OFF MY OWN TONGUE!
Jeter just swung at the first pitch before the camera even had time to cut to the batter's box. Settle the hell down, Yankees.
7:52 Weirdest stat ever. Something about being on base in every extra inning of a postseason game. First time that's happened since 1912. Is this...impressive? I don't get it.
7:55 We're just informed that Andy Pettitte is pitching on artificial turf for the first time in postseason career. I'm 100% shocked I haven't heard anything about Pettitte's worrisome lack of relevant playoff experience.
8;00 "He's thrown strike 1 to 9 of 10 hitters." My head is going to explode.
8:02 The Pitch Track is off or the umps are off. Either way, the f-ing tracking thing on the tv screen is doing little beyond pissing the hell outta me. Oh, Tex down on strikes. 6Ks for Big CP. Last strike was a mile high.
8:05 Time to enact ridiculous superstition. Venturing to bar so I can bundle up and watch from outside the windows. I'm getting a cold just thinking about it. I love you, Yankees!
8:15 In the time it took me to get from my apartment to a bar, the announcers have abandoned the whole 1st-pitch-strike novelty in favor of God knows what. Random fan commentary, I guess:
"Now, you know ya got a true baseball fan when you see a homer hanky." A lot wrong with this sentiment. Actually, not that much wrong, just one giant thing: It makes no sense.
"And, really, ya gotta love baseball to come all the way out to the game to sit in those seats." (The homer hanky man they showed on television was in, like, Row YY, Tier 32,203.)
Why, yes, it really is a testament to true fandom, to come to a possible elimination game in the last game ever (possibly) in your stadium. And in this weather, no less! Oh wait...
8:32 I just asked my buddy at the bar, "Oh, Swish uses a pacifier?"
"Um, no. It's what they put on their hands when they're batting."
(Ok, if it's in someone's mouth, it looks like a pacifier, and let's be honest. Would you put it past Swish to need one?)
8:36 Johnny Damon just struck out for what seems like the 82nd time in the last 3 days. It's kind of funny/interesting because all my Yankee buddies around me (and myself, too) all have the same train of thought: "&^% WTF Damon?" Then, "No no no no. This is good. He's DUE. You know? He's DUE."
8:51 Life is over. 1-0 Twinks. I can't even watch now. It was 2 outs. And it should have been 3 outs. The Yanks should be batting now. Denard Span singles, steals 2nd. O-Cab walks. (Walks make me want to kill myself in the postseason. I don't know why, but they devastate me. Like, to a 100% irrational degree.) Mauer singles--Goddammit, he is so good. SO good--and Span scores.
Then my buddy gives me the most insightful line of the night (shockingly, TBS did not even crack the Top 100 in this category). After I've dramatically thrown my head against the bar and reacted to a 1-0 deficit as if I just accidentally deleted my 108-page thesis pape, my buddy Mike says, "KRIS. Hey. Calm down. The Yankees aren't gonna win unless they score 1 run anyway, even if the Twins hadn't scored."
So awkwardly and remarkably awesome and true. Mike: 1, Kris: 0.
8:52 My youngest sister texts me, "Wtf is up with this home plate umpire?? So inconsistent. Mauer should have been out on strikes."
I'm on the brink of death on account of the 1-0 lead, but I get this text, and I'm happy for a moment. It's like if you were a parent and your kid came home and said, "Johnny offered me a cigarette at school today, but I said no because it's bad for you." You probably didn't NEED to hear that, but you're kinda proud they've been listening to you this whole time.
8:53 Outside time. No more effing around. There's a guy milling around outside, saying to no one in particular, "Damn, it's cold as HELL out here" and I want to kill him because that claim makes zero sense.
9:00 A-ROD! Ok, remember when I said before the postseason that we need to establish some parameters for what A-Rod needs to do for haters to get off his back? Yeah. Ok, so I'd say he's met all job requirements AND THEN SOME. He just went yard in a 1-0 game to tie the score. Every. Single. Hit. He's had this postseason has been the absolute epitome of clutch. 5 for 11. 2 homeruns. 6 RBIs. Not bad at all.
9:05 JORGE! Well, it looks like I'm not going back in now. Posada goes yard, 2-1 game. Once again, I'm banned from re-entering bar. I'm more than comfortable with this.
9:20 Joba Chamberlain comes in to pitch. I want to cry. Or leave bar. He gives up a homerun. Well, by homerun, I mean a double, which may as well be a homerun. Yeah, what is it? The 6th inning? See ya, rationality.
STOP MAKING ME CRAZY, YANKEES. JUST MAKE IT BE OVER.
9:22 The girl next to me at the bar keeps clapping and "whoo!"-ing, saying, "YEAH, Pettitte!" I'm very, very close to shooting nails in the back of her head. I can see where the dirty-stayout'd be confused. Pettitte and Joba look like they could be brothers. If "brothers" was another term for "the most absolute opposites."
9:43 Phil Hughes in, and it isn't pretty. Really? REALLY?! In my last recap, I said apparently the postseason liability we need to keep tabs on is Hughes. I was JOKING. What the f is going on here? Nick Punto leads off with a double. I'm going to the bathroom. For superstitious purposes only. Actually, that's not true. Half superstition, half "I can't watch or I'll either shoot myself or the dirty stayout 2 feet from me who is now calling Hughes, Pettitte."
10:03 I'm propped up against the wall in the bathroom when my sister arrives.
"Thought I might find you here." "I'm not peeing, I just--" "I know. The game." Shakes her head. I'm happy she's here.
10:10 Top of the 9th. Still 2-1. I just want the game to be over so, so badly.
10:11 My sister: "Gardenhire is putting in one pitcher-per-batter so his bullpen can take turns walking people."
It's true. First Mahay comes in to walk Teixeira. Jon Rauch comes in and walks A-Rod. Mijares comes in to walk Hideki. They're like the freaking psychologists Matt Damon has to see in "Good Will Hunting"--one more ineffective than the next.
My sister: "Joe Nathan's coming in, and I think he just blacked out. No , I'm serious. He actually looks terrified right now."
Dude DOES seem a little agitated. I have no sympathy. He blew the game on Friday because he threw the same exact pitch to A-Rod twice. Stupid people get what's coming to them.
10:23 Youngest sister texts: "I hate it when teams try to use the two strike ovation against the yanks. Show some respect."
I'm so proud, I may cry.
She's right. The Yankees invented the standing-after-2-strikes thing, and it drives me INSANE when I see other teams doing it. Do we do the wave? No. You guys have your rituals. We have ours.
10:30 Fan runs on the field, and they actually show it! At Yankee Stadium the cameramen very disjointedly start pivoting the cameras with wild abandon to avoid filming the field-runner. Sometimes we'll just get an 8-minute shot of the sky, while Michael Kay and Paul O'Neill try to wax philosophical about it: "Paul, you played on the Yankees. How did YOU feel about clouds during the game?"
10:32 My sister drops 2nd most interesting brain teaser of the night. "So, the kid who runs onto the field, or the idiot who jumps onto the netting at Yankee Stadium...they get banned for life, yeah?"
"Ok, sooo ...?"
"So what about new stadiums? Does the ban extend to new stadiums?"
10:33 Milestone moment: "And the Twins are down to their final strike of the season, the final strike of the Metrodome."
10:35 BALL GAME OVER! AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES OVER! THUHHHH YANKEES WIN!
10:36 Texts are punching in:
"Giants win. Rangers win. And the NY YANKEES WIN THE ALDS!!! AWESOME DAY!!"
"congrats." (That one was from a Sox fan, as evidenced by the notable lack of exclamation points. Extremely gracious, though, to be sure.)
"New York, New York" immediately is played through the bar, and life is good. The Yankees have swept the Twins. They played exceptionally. I'm so happy right now.
10:40 I turn to TV to see Joe Nathan shuffling over to pitcher's mound and collecting some dirt for himself. Ok, that's really sad. And now I hate him because I was so happy, and he just brought that elation down about 22 levels.
11:00 I head home, not before trying to jump up and click my heels. And the excitement over the Yankees has made me forget about my knee in all its ACL-rehab glory. It hurt.
Speaking of feet, my P.F. Flyers are now 8-0. To refresh anyone's memory, I started wearing them when the Yanks were in Anaheim and lost game 1. I put them on for games 2 & 3 of that series, put them back on for the Sox series, and then rested them until the postseason.
They're definitely magical. Like Frosty the Snowman's hat.
* * *
Next hurdle: American League Championship Series, starting Friday in the Bronx. Which means I have 4 days to either relax or climb the walls in dizzying anticipation.
There's little doubt in my mind which of those avenues I'll end up taking this week.
Congratulations again to the best team in baseball!
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