That was my favorite Facebook status update that I came across last night. Well played, well played…
So I go for a walk this morning, and the streets of the Upper East Side really felt like that Avis commercial. Every where I went, people–taking note of the everpresent Yankee cap–were tripping over themselves to rehash the dramatic win that went down 16 hours ago.
“How ’bout my boy A-Rod, eh?”
“What a game last night!! You see it? Unbelievable.”
And then, there were the people less than ecstatic about everything…
“The ump in the Yankee game last night may stop Obama from repeating on the Nobel.” — Sux fan
“Yanks are paying off the left field ump, no other explanation.” –Mutts fan
“Luxury tax? Not good enough. Revenue sharing? Not good enough. Until all teams in Major League Baseball are actually on even ground, you might as well just put teams like the Yankees in a league of their own. Because a video-game lineup of All-Stars for some reason just seems unfair.” –Twinks fan
It seems that everything was the impetus behind the Yankees’ win last night EXCEPT their actual raw talent and grit. Couldn’t have anything to do with A-Rod’s clutch hitting, or the Twins’ inability to bring more than 3 runners home while they stranded 17.
Nah, none of those things factored into it. The Twins lost because the ump called a fair ball foul so Joe Mauer’s at-bat produced a single instead of a double. The Yankees won because of their payroll. A-Rod was clutch because of steroids.
Oh, and apparently the Red Sox lost because of the umpire, too. Last night’s 4-1 loss to the Angels put Boston in an 0-2 hole, and now are 1 game away from elimination. Which is 100% something that can place squared on the shoulders of home plate umpire CB Bucknor. Right, Red Sux Nation?
To say nothing of the fact that the Sux have only been able to plate 1 runner in the last 18 innings.
It’s easy to blame umps for lost games, and in history, there have undoubtedly been times when one blown call irreversibly changed the course ot history. But I tend to look at these things the same way I looked at money exchange during my 4 years at college of living with 5 girls.
If I went out and asked, “Does anyone want any coffee/anything from supermarket/beer/etc?” I didn’t return and give them itemized receipts for a $3.75 bag of Wonder Bread. Because the way figured it, it all evens out in time; one day, one of them will go out and bring me back a bag of gummi bears and not ask me to fork over the $1.99. And similarly in sports, maybe you don’t get one call, but later on, you’ll get it back.
And believe me, I’m not just saying this because the call worked in our favor last night. What about in 2007 when a plague of midges descended upon game 2 of the ALDS against the Indians?
And the Yankees 1-run lead was squandered when Joba Chamberlain threw a wild pitch, when he had not thrown one all season long. He had the lowest walk rate of any reliever, and up til that point, had let up only 1 earned run all season. He had an ERA of 0.38 and a WHIP of 0.75.
Annnnnd..then he’s covered in bugs, no one delays the game or postpones it, and he lets up the tying run.
Is that fair?
My dad used to tell me and my sisters whenever we dropped the “no fair!” whine:
“It’s not fair? Well, lemme ask you this: If you add an even number and an even number, what do you get?”
“Um, an even number?”
“But if you add an odd number and an odd number, what do you get?”
“…an even number..”
“Yeah, and is THAT fair? Ok, then.”
Whether he actually found this to be a logical rebuttal, or whether its purpose was to stymie us with its sheer absurdity, it worked. And stuck with me.
Yeah, Mauer’s hit in the 11th inning was fair, but to say the Twins lost because ot the blown call, is fuzzy logic, because that presumes that everything thereafter would have played out exactly the same way. With Mauer on second, Jason Kubel’s single moves him up, and you got runners on 2nd and 3rd. Do you REALLY think the Yanks are pitching to Cuddyer in that situation?
You intentionally walk him.
And you’re with bases loaded and no outs. EXACTLY the way it was when the Yanks miraculously got out of the inning.
Or say by some twist of fate, it DOES score Mauer. If we’re assuming that everything plays out exactly the same way for the rest of the 11th for this to actually happen, then we have to assume that same goes for the bottom of the 11th, and Tex still hits that ding, and then it’s a tie game. That’s the BEST Twins fans can hope for in terms of their argument that the foul/fair ball call was life-altering.
If you want to point to a game-changing play, you need to go further back than the 11th inning, and to a time when the score was tied with a different number. Top of the 4th, 0-0, runners on 2nd and 3rd. Matt Tolbert gets a base hit to right, and before Delmon Young has a chance to reach home, Carlos Gomez TRIPS rounding second and gets tagged out by Jeter.
What if Carlos Gomez doesn’t trip right there? Instead of the score being 1-0 with 2 outs and runners still in scoring position, the innings ends with no score.
You can point to the ump all you want, and there is not a doubt in any fan of any team’s mind that that was one if not THE worst call in playoff history, but you can’t presume to aver that it was what lost it for the Twins.
You can spit vitriol at the Yankees and their fans all you want, but what do you want us to do about it? Refuse to accept the win because Mauer’s call was bogus? Concede that the Twins should have won that game? Why? The Yanks didn’t exactly have the game handed to them. As far as I know, it’s not that easy to head into the 9th in a 2-run deficit and tie the game with one swing.
(If you look at the replays of A-Rod’s shot, you’ll see him say and he rounds the bases–presumably to the criticizing world–what he and the rest of his teammates were all thinking, too: “Shut the F&^% UP!”)
As for the bitter haters stemming from the Red Sux Nation, blown calls aren’t the only thing that even out in the long run, Boston. Maybe you shouldn’t have spent the better part of the season antagonizing Yankee fans, and making a living off of obsessing about A-Rod’s non-clutchness, and insisting your pitchers are unstoppable, and barking about how we all should be very, very afraid.
Because I gotta tell ya, Boston. Maybe you make a comeback, maybe you don’t. But watching Josh “Big Game Big Mouth” Beckett get embarrassed…well, it was just the only way last night could’ve gotten any better for us.
So while it may be some comfort to you to rationalize the Yankees winning by pointing to the umps, why don’t you pay more attention to your own series and let us take care of ours? You might want to “enjoy” what little time left you have with watching them “play.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2009