“The anticipation must be killin you.” –Text message, 7:32 pm
“46 hours, 41 min til 1st pitch. But who’s counting?” –Text message, 9:17pm
“I’m trying to get people to start calling me Fung Wah.” –I’m not going to dignify this with a timestamp, but it bears mentioning since this is the type of data that may represent the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s psyche
I can barely makes heads or tails of basic social functioning measures these days. Yesterday I told a cabbie to “have a great weekend,” and today. I lost track of how many times I doled out a response to a standard operating greeting.
“Hey, how it’s going?”
“Good, how are you?”
“Good, how are you?”
My poor coworkers are dealing with some kind of Rainman-Gil Renard hybrid.
It’s almost here. I can’t sleep. Someone once said that “The majority of American males put themselves to sleep by striking out the batting order of the New York Yankees.” I understand this now. Because I’ll lie awake in bed staring at the ceiling with simulated games running through my head.
(You’d think that since it’s all in my head that I’d just have the Yankees go yard every time. But on Tuesday morning I woke up inexplicably cranky, and then remembered the Yankees stranded 4 baserunners in the 2 innings. In my head.)
And when someone/anyone solicits my thoughts on the American League Championship Series [read: when I accost people on the street to assert my thoughts on the American League Championship Series), my stance is always the same:
“YANKEES IN 4.”
Is this the symptomatic presentation of hypermania? Or the convinced confidence of an optimistic Yankee fan?
I’m actually not really sure. But what I do know is that the only thing the Yanks have in their “Con” column is “Historical Struggles.” Their “Pro” column, on the other hand, is pretty crowded. Yesterday I read all about how the Angels have all the reason in the world (13 reasons, to be exact) to be assured right now.
Conversely, here are 9 indications that the Angels, not the Yankees, should be the ones suffering through the end of the season. Nine. I have my reasons.* (I feel like someone on the Price is Right: “How many did the last blogger say? 13? Hm. Ok, I’ll take 9.”)
1.) In the Rock, Papers, Scissors of sports, creative genius covers incisive intellect.
I spent the better part of the season thinking GM Joe Griardi was a minor step above Ms. PacMan in terms of strategic depth. HOWEVAH, I stopped second guessing him, when I realized that he’s probably got some kind of method to his madness. Just, not a method that will coincide with basic logic.
On the other hand, you got a true mastermind in the form of Mike Sciosa. He’s up there with Gardenhire in the Mensa Managers. But that kind of conventional acuity doesn’t dominate. It merely competes. I want Girardi’s maddening rejection of convention. If Sciosa’s a preying eagle, then Girardi’s this fella. A little neurotic. But ultimately so weirdly aggressive that opponents are left reeling.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact the Yankees have been able to surgically detach themselves from the suffix “whoserelieverssuck.” Joba Chamberlain has been mainlining AirBourne to stave off his Knoblauch Disorder. Hughes is… a tad shaky, but once Eiland gets him to start working in a few curves to keep batters honest, he can go right back to throwing gas. Mo…no words necessary. David Roberson and Phil Coke…gold.
The Angels, on the other hand, aren’t exacltly boasting the same bullpen that owned the Yanks in ’02 and ’05. No K-Rod, no Percival, no Scot Shields. Just a handful of names that sound like the guys who give the homerun proctor a rough time, but in good fun: Kevin Jepsen, Jason Bulger, Darren Oliver, Matt Palmer.
Here it is: the 2nd most important part of this series will be how much the Yanks can tire the Angels. Maximize the pitch count every, single. at. bat. It’s like that psychology experiment where kids are given a marshmallow, and they’re told that if they don’t eat it, later on they’ll get another marshmallow.
The results: “Those who resisted the temptation…were less likely to go to pieces, freeze, or regress under stress, or become rattled or disorganized when pressured; they embraced challenges and pursued them instead of giving up even in the face of difficulties.”
Marshmallows look enough like baseballs to me that I’d say this is analogous. Don’t get overeager, and your patience will be rewarded by more marshmallows later on…from pitchers who aren’t Lackey/Weaver/Kazmir.
3.) CC Sabathia
The 1st most important part of this series. He seems to operate on some kind of carrot-dangling teaching method–I’m pretty the DH’s take turns waving buffalo wings from the dugout while Tubbo’s on the mound. And it seems to be working so far?
His performance on Friday cannot be played down, it’s basically life and death. You can’t lose Game 1 at home with your ace on the mound, especially when he’s going on short rest a few days later. You can’t. I’d call it a must-win, but then I’d have to set myself on fire.
4.) The Short Porch.
The power on either side of the Yanks and Angels come close to cancelling each other out, but all things being equal, the lefty power on New York matches up with our smartly engineered right-field wall, better than ranch dressing and pretty much everything.
5.) A-Rod and Mark Teixeira
Worth every f’ing penny. It’s nice to see a routine grounder get fielded and flung to first, without having to avert my eyes to avoid seeing exactly how many runners will score on Giambi’s inabilty to dig balls out. It’s even nicer to see Teixeira getting more and more meatballs as A-Rod gets more and more threatening.
6.) West Coast vs East Coast
I don’t trust the west. It’s all very smog and mirrors. Give me the east coast and its unapologetic attacks any day of the week and twice on Sunday. (And if nothing else, it just got real chilly in NYC in the last few days. Bundle up, SoCals)
7.) Torii Hunter
I’m convinced he harbors a secret desire to wear pinstripes.
“This year, I think it’s something different about those guys. It’s a fire, some kind of fire, I see in those guys. It’s totally different.” -T.H.
“I love Yankee Stadium. The atmosphere and energy there is great. And the fans
know the game. When they get on you it can be pretty personal, but it’s always
about your baseball game. When someone screams, ‘You just can’t hit that
slider,’ that’s someone who knows what they’re talking about.” -T.H.
8.) The only person who AJ Burnett hasn’t shoved a walk-off pie into is…Derek Jeter.
Now tell me you aren’t the least bit concerned about this. Jeter’s without a walk-off hit this year. The year he made history. It’s almost like the universe is just waiting to get everything set up for him before ushering him to another cinematic milestone.
9.) Unsubstantiated Power of “I Got a Good Feeling About This”
If you flip a coin 50 times, and it comes up heads the first 49, there’s still a 50-50 chance that it comes up tails on the last toss. I don’t care that the Angels “have the Yanks’ number.” Because the Sox had the Angels’ number, and Papelbon had postseason batters’ number, everyone had A-Rod’s number, and October had CC’s number. The Angels should be verrrrry wary of waiting for that other cleat to drop.
YANKEES IN FOUR.
(I can’t tell if that sounds like “What are you in for?”, or if I’m just subconsciously preparing for possible ramifications of this weekend’s output.)
41 hours and 52 minutes left…
Read 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Anaheim Angels.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 14, 2009