Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Oxygen and the Brain 

Among all the possible Game 6 storylines I posited yesterday, only one really came to the foreground last night, along with one that came out of the middle of nowhere.

Well, Curt, you finally got what you wanted when you left the D-Backs -- you finally shut up 55,000 Yankee fans. Or 56,128 to be exact. Set aside the injury stuff, and you still have a great pitching performance by a pitcher who didn't necessarily have his best stuff. Save for a monster shot by Bernie Williams, he had the Yankees team and fans tied up in fits. Of course, we saw Curt's head buried in a towel in the top half of innings as many times as we saw Jon Lieber pitching during those innings. Smarter heads prevailed and the rumor that the Yankees -- who, er, set a major league record for home runs by a team this year -- would do nothing but bunt was proved false, but given their lack of success against Schilling there were points last night when maybe the Yankees should've given it a go.

How many nicknames -- printable or otherwise -- has Red Sox Nation given him in the last 12 hours? (I mean, new ones, not ones that are 10 months old.) Seriously, the man will easily reach Mays-ian homerun territory, if not more, and still I see no reason why he won't go through the rest of the career known as "The Slap" -- Alex "The Slap" Rodriguez. "I don't know what I was trying to do," said A-Rod, and I guess I'm willing to take him at his word. I think. He simply wasn't thinking, just reacting, as if his brain was had been deprived of oxygen. I don't know if he appeared contrite or accepted responsibility, but at least he seemed to understand why he was called out. He's right, of course, in that he should have simply just run down the line and do his best Pete Rose imitation to Bronson Arroyo. At the very least, Jeter would've stayed at second instead of being moved all the way back to first.

The umpires, after being criticized for poor performance on both sides of the ball in Game Five, came back and made sure the correct call was made twice, first on Bellhorn's homerun, then on A-Rod's interference. The calls and the barrage of beer bottles and baseballs "reportedly" thrown onto the field (the TV announcers talked about it, but I don't recall seeing any shots of it) made me wish that just once the "no-showing-replays-at-the-stadium" rule would be bent, because the only 56,128 people in the world who didn't think A-Rod had interfered with Arroyo on the play were sitting in Yankee Stadium.

So now we move to Game Seven. My chief concern here is how to explain to my wonderful wife, who's already beginning to think I've watched too much baseball this year and has not had enough attention from me recently, that this is, well, a really important game. Really, more important than last night's. I just have no way to convey the context, the history here to someone who thinks my brain has been deprived of oxygen.

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