Friday, October 30, 2009
"So. It is down to you. And it is down to me." --Vezzini, The Princess Bride
I had dreaded it for months. Working as I do on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I hoped the day wouldn't come. But, of course, it happened. Mariano Rivera struck out Gary Matthews, Jr., and the hypothetical became reality. A Phillies-Yankees World Series. To say that I'm in the thick of enemy territory is like saying that LeBron James knows a little something about basketball. I had to put a sign on my office door that says, "No se habla beisbol aqui" in between the teams' logos.
Yesterday was a nice day to come into work, especially after all the classless garbage seen in the Gotham tabloids this week. The Post ran a cover that screamed both amateur and immature, calling us "Phrillies" and "Phrauds." How clever. The Daily News ran a headline that said, "Silly-delphia thinks they have a chance against NY." Oooh. Silly-delphia! Crushing!
Cliff Lee put to rest forever the few lingering questions and murmurs concerning some pitcher on the Blue Jays whose name I can't remember. Chase Utley wasn't impressed by CC Sabathia's prior dominance over left-handed home run hitters. And the Yankee bullpen let a close game get out of hand, raising more red flags (double-meaning intended) for an arrogant and obnoxious fanbase.
Today? Not as good a day to come into work. Last night was frustrating. But let us first give credit where it's due, as compared with the New York news channels, who began their broadcast as if someone had died, blaming the Yankee bats rather than appreciating the masterpiece that was Cliff Lee's outing. AJ Burnett pitched beautifully. Occasionally he was helped out by certain players forgetting that it's impossible to get a hit with the bat on their shoulders. But that doesn't lessen how good Burnett was. He deserved the win. Pedro Martinez pitched well, and gave his team a real chance to win, which is all you can ask for from your starter. Though I never give up until the last pitch, I knew it was all but over when Chase grounded into the double play in the 8th. You don't get many chances like that off Rivera. So when you do, you have to cash in.
The silver lining, of course, is that we did get the split in New York. The Yankees had the best home record in baseball, and we took one in the Bronx. Now we head home for three. The word "amazing" is entirely overused in our vocabulary nowadays, but that would be precisely the appropriate adjective if we can sweep at home and repeat as champs.
I'm looking square at you, Cole Hamels. For Halloween, I'd love to see you dressed up as you from 2008. Think you've got that costume stashed away somewhere?
Does the Eagles' offense know that byes only last one week? As my friend Shwa once said in a similar win over the Redskins a couple of years ago, "Only the Eagles could win and still make you feel like crap."
A couple of logical questions for Fox and other broadcasters of sports: How can there be a "game-changing" or "game-saving" play when the game isn't over yet? How can you have several players, like the "Eagles defensive line," be the "player of the game"? It's like when John Madden used to put ten guys on his asinine horse trailer. And by the way, I can't tell you how much I don't miss that man.
Have you heard the annoying whistle for PC Richard & Son? It sounds like something you should do when your car blows a tire. It's like the Dragnet theme they play at the Wachovia Center when the opposing team gets a penalty against the Flyers. It's certainly not a positive sound. And then I noticed they play it after strikeouts thrown by Yankee pitchers. Hated that place before. Hate it more now.
Enough with "DAY-O." It doesn't mean anything, you never play the next line, and if that's what you need to keep the crowd in a ballgame, your fans are idiots.
And, so that I end on a positive note. For fun, a great article by Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN.com giving fifteen reasons why the average fan should root for the Phillies. Also, in a great article by Jayson Stark, he provides some awesome perspective: "It wasn't so long ago that this franchise had played in two World Series in its first 97 seasons of existence. And now it's about to play in its second in 12 months." As my boy Kevin texted me, "I never thought I'd live to see a team like this."