Friday, October 30, 2009

Who's your daddy?

I love Pedro Martinez. He's one of my favorite baseball characters, and he's had a remarkable career. And what Giants fan doesn't enjoy seeing a guy become a star after he leaves LA? There was a stretch--1997 to 2003--where he was nearly unhittable. I got to see him pitch in Fenway in 1998 in a game against his former team, the Expos (with Felipe Alou managing). Former Giant Darren Lewis was the hitting star!

I thought yesterday's press conference highlights were hilarious. Baseball reporters never seem to get it when a ballplayer is messing with them, it's as if they refuse to believe some dumb jock can poke holes in their questions. I think there is an unwritten script that the ballplayers are supposed to stick with ("I'm just happy to be here" and "I just want to help the team" and etc.) and when they ad lib no one knows how to deal with it. Barry did that all the time and all it ever caused him was more grief. When the Yankee fans were really giving it to Martinez as he walked off the field last night you could see him break into a smile before the cameras cut to commercial. You are not supposed to laugh in the face of defeat in the baseball universe, that's not the manly way to handle it, but Martinez knew that the Yanks had beaten him and the only sensible thing to do was to "tip his cap" to them. He pitched a great game, but Burnett pitched an even better one.

The big moment for me was when Rollins worked a walk off Rivera in the 8th. That was quite an effort against a guy who never walks anyone. Then Victorino poked one into right field and the big guys were coming up with only one out. Alas, Utley hit a double play ball, and was out at first on a verrrrry close play. That was it for the Phils. Give credit to the Yanks, they made the big plays and got the big hits when they needed them. Burnett pitched a gem and got the ball to Mariano for the last six outs--that's a tough formula for any club, even the defending champs. Cole Hamels has yet to show his 2008 form, but he'll get a chance on Saturday at home to right the ship. He'd be the game seven starter if this rotation holds. Will we see C.C. come back on short rest for game four if the Yanks are down 2-1? If the Phils are in a 2-1 hole will they trust their fortunes to journeyman Joe Blanton or rookie J.A. Happ? What a great series so far, eh? Let's hope it keeps up.


JC Parsons said...

My favorite Pedro moment was when he grabbed a charging Don Zimmer by his face and tossed him off to one side. Normally I don't enjoy baseball brawls...but that was just done so is etched in my memory. I guess the fact that I never liked Zimmer helps too.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Good point. I always liked Zimmer, actually, but when a 70+ year old guy decides to mix it up in a brawl he should expect to get spanked. What was he thinking? Pedro did the humane thing by tossing him off--if Ol' Zimm had actually gotten caught in the scrum he'd have been seriously hurt. Zimm should have thanked Pedro for caring and treating him in a gentlemanly fashion. It always amazes me that the "story" never matches the reality. I guess it shouldn't--baseball is mostly myth. People hate reality intruding in on sports. If the action on the field is contrary to your belief system then simply ignore it and say something else happened. Now that I understand, can I be a "sportswriter" too?