Augh! How can I watch any more baseball games ever?! Let's list the horrifying events of the last two weeks (using patented UL technology):
- The Oakland A's have a three-year streak of futility in the first round of the playoffs. This year they play the dangerous Boston Red Sox, and win the first two games. Then they fumble away Game 3. Then they take a lead in Game 4 (at which point I started screaming, on my way to Orchard Supply Hardware: YEAH! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU YOU BOSTON MOTHERFUCKERS!) Then the Sox come back and win. Then the teams return to Oakland for Game 5. Zito pitches beatifully but runs out of hammer juice. The A's chip away at the Sox lead. In the 9th inning they get two men on base with no outs, load the bases with two outs, and lose.
- The Chicago Cubs, favorite team of The Declarer's sainted mother, beat the Atlanta Braves. They slam the Marlins and take a 3-1 lead. Then Dusty Baker leaves his pitcher in the game until his arm falls off. Cubs lose three straight.
- The Boston Red Sox are down 3-2 to the Yankees. No problem, they are loose. They win Game 6. They take a 4-0 lead in Game 7. Then Pedro Martinez runs out of hammer juice, and Grady Little leaves him in until NO! NO! I CAN'T WRITE THIS AGAIN! FIGURE OUT A NEW WAY TO CHOKE! STOP TORTURING ME!
Obligatory stupid sportswriting
, from the SF Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins:
Manager Grady Little will be roasted on the Boston talk shows all winter after his handling of the Boston pitching staff Thursday night. People will be calling for his head, and they just might get it. That's a shame. Little managed with his heart in this Game 7, and too few people understand what that means. Know-nothing critics ripped Dusty Baker for staying with Mark Prior in the Cubs' fateful Game 6 against Florida, forgetting everything about the team and the people involved. The Cubs' entire world revolved around Prior winning that game -- not some stiff out of the bullpen. Prior is the National League's best pitcher, known for starting what he finishes. Giving him the hook amounted to building a movie around Sean Penn, then replacing him with the governor of California for the final scenes.
Are you mad? The Cubs want to go to the World Series. If Baker dressed up a goose and it threw strikes they would be happy winning. These are major league ballplayers, not a focus group for shmaltzy feel-good movie scriptwriting.
Little wasn't blind to the remarkable success of the Red Sox's bullpen lately. He also knew the deeper truth, that you don't replace the game's most genius-like pitcher with someone named Timlin, Embree or Williamson if the genius wants to keep working.
Pedro Martinez is less effective after 100 pitches. This is not a fucking movie.
Yank his ass, pat him on the back, and get a fresh pitcher in to win the game.
Martinez did his job, too. He coaxed a dreadful little pop-up out of Jorge Posada in the eighth inning, the blooper that turned into a two-run double and a 5-5 tie.
"Pedro has been our man all year long," said Little, "and in situations like that, he's the one we want out there -- over anybody we can bring out of that bullpen."
Absolutely. Big games must be decided by the big people, whenever possible, and that's certainly why the Yankees are about to host the Florida Marlins in the World Series.
That certainly is
why the Yankees are about to host the Marlins. But not for the reason that Jenkins imagined.