Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 20, 2004
BASEBALL: Armageddon


Peter Gammons is on the pregame show . . . he's trying to fudge, but you can hear it: he thinks this is finally the year.

These are the saddest of possible words, Matsui to Jeter to Posada.

Yes, Simmons is right. They will rename it Papichusetts. 2-0 Sox.

Most similar player to David Ortiz through age 28: Tony Clark. You know it's coming: At the end of his next contract, Ortiz will be signed by the Yankees.

Yankees had 61 come from behind wins - that means they were trailing in 122 games this year. That's a lot, isn't it?

John Sterling goes out on a limb: "I'd say Ortiz has been the toughest batter the Yankees have faced all year."

It just cracks me up that one of the Yankees' major radio ad sponsors is Johnnie Cochran.

Brown drills Cabrera to load the bases. Mister Brown is out of town. After 1.1 innings. Hide the walls!

Grand slam Johnny Damon. 6-0 Sox before the Yankees have a hit. Game Seven of the 1934 World Series comes to mind, when the home town Tigers got blown out 11-0 and the Detroit fans started pelting Cardinals left fielder Joe Medwick with bottles, rotten fruit, and auto parts (said Medwick: "I know why they threw it at me. I just don't know why they brought it to the park.").

Sterling: "The crowd, really, in stunned silence." Charlie Steiner compares Ortiz to Frank Lary. A work colleague emails: "I think we've seen Brown's last pitch in pinstripes."

20-20-24 outs to go, I wanna be sedated . . .

Reality check: 24 outs against these Yankees is a lot.

No hits for the Yanks in the first two innings. Game One comes to mind. The symmetries are hypnotic . . .

Jeter singles in Cairo. 6-1. Meyers and Leskanic are up in the Boston pen already. Get real: 5-run lead, exhausted bullpen. You gotta give Lowe some rope here if you want to win the game.

Lowe gets out of the inning. Pedro is getting ready to get warmed up anyway. All hands on deck.

We know this much: if the Sox win, the odds of Clemens beating the Cards tomorrow increase exponentially.

I guess Johnny Damon's slump is officially over. 8-1 Sox.

Javier Vazquez goes down like a tree struck by lightning!

When you are the Red Sox playing the Yankees, leaving the bases loaded with a 7-run lead feels like cause for genuine concern, rather than pure piggishness. It's not paranoia when they are really out to get you.

The Post is getting its editorial ready.

Dr. Manhattan emails: "Well, the first part of 1999 NLCS Game 6 is going according to schedule..."

Yankees still have only one hit. Maybe we won't see the Derek Lowe Face tonight.

Top of the 7th, Gordon and Heredia warming in the bullpen. Sterling and Steiner are thanking people - it seems to have just hit them that this may be their last broadcast of the season.

Pedro's coming in. Why? This could be a volatile situation. I'd rather bring in Mendoza while you have enough lead to have a margin for error.

Sterling is talking up 2005 season tickets. Lowe leaves after just 69 pitches, Matsui smacks a 2-0 double off Pedro. Cue "Jaws" music.

Bernie doubles, 8-2. Lofton singles, 8-3. Olerud hobbles up to the plate.

Olerud whiffs, Lofton on second, two outs. Crowd chanting "Who's Your Daddy" over and over and over.

Bellhorn homers, 9-3. People are starting, slowly, to realize why Bellhorn was one of the stars of the Red Sox this season. Homer is reminiscent of Strawberry's homer off Al Nipper in Game 7 in the 1986 World Series.

Al Leiter apparently said on TV that Pedro wanted in. Um, who is the manager?

I hear "Let's Go Red Sox" chants as Timlin sets them down in the 8th. Where are the Yankee fans?

Cabrera hits a sac fly off Gordon to make it 10-3; Gordon needs the winter to rest. Mariano's coming in, for the same reason Gagne was on the mound at the end of the Cards-Dodgers season; why not go down with your best guy, no matter how hopeless the odds?

This still seems like it can't be happening.

Well, it's over. The Yankees Lose! Theeeee Yankees Lose! The Sox have extracted revenge for last season; the Yankees, gigantic payroll, stacked roster and all, have choked in a way no baseball team has ever choked. The series starts Saturday at Fenway.

The story of the 2004 Yankees is a remarkably simple one. The Yankees' team ERA after the All-Star break was 4.95, putting stress on the team's top relievers to keep them in games. Rivera, Gordon and Quantrill combined to throw 111.2 innings in 107 appearances in 76 games after the break. None of the three were as effective in the ALCS as you'd like; Gordon and Quantrill were terrible, and Rivera mortal. And Brown and Vazquez, the Yankee starters who collapsed in the second half after looking like their 1-2 punch early on, were shelled in this series. That's all you need to know.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 08:13 PM | Baseball 2004 | Comments (13) | TrackBack (4)

It's not like anyone doesn't think he's a Sox guy or anything.

Posted by: Tom at October 20, 2004 08:23 PM

thanks for the updates. I have neither radio nor TV near me but have computer. Other sites loading dog-slow on this old computer here.

Posted by: Andrew | BB at October 20, 2004 11:02 PM

If Pedro blows the game, this will be the most second-guessed decision ever... far surpassing the second guessing of Grady Little last year.

Posted by: Al at October 20, 2004 11:14 PM

Sweet Mother Of God! What in the name of Bill Monbouquette was Pedro doing in the game?!?!?!

Posted by: JT at October 20, 2004 11:21 PM

I think Pedro asked in on the assumption/hope that he would blow the Yanks away and extract revenge for last year's loss and all the "Who's your daddy?" shit.

Should Francona have acquiesced? No way, no how, no chance. And he'll pay for it in the World Series.

Posted by: Allah at October 20, 2004 11:45 PM

Ay, jerky, tonight's Wednesday.

Pedro's getting five days rest.

Learn how to win

Posted by: Bluesfor at October 20, 2004 11:47 PM

Bluesfor -- The Series starts on Saturday night.

Posted by: Allah at October 20, 2004 11:53 PM

"I know why they threw it at me. I just don't know why they brought it to the park."

Well, it was Detroit... either that, or a lot of Tigers fans had side businesses in the burgeoning chop shop industry.

Posted by: Chris Lawrence at October 21, 2004 03:45 AM

Great series. I'm not much of a Sox or Yankee fan so it didn't matter much who won and I don't get to see many AL games on TV during the season.

I'm hoping Houston will win tonight. It will be interesting Tex vs Mass. Just like Bush vs Kerry.

What was the "who's your daddy" cheer about?

Posted by: roux at October 21, 2004 09:31 AM

I think Pedro was warmed up and scheduled to get his IP in and they had already told him he'd go game three of the WS. So at that point it was use Pedro or loose him, I don't think the outing effectied is availability.

Boston media has Wake starting game 1. If Clemens wins we'll have Clemens v Pedro in the WS game 3 in an NL park. What are the chances they just start drilling each other?


Posted by: BWright at October 21, 2004 11:12 AM

What killed, killed, KILLED the Yankees was the bone-headed decision to let Andy Pettitte slip away. How many times has he delivered in the postseason for them? And now, against the Sox, with a lineup full of left-handed hitters (or switch-hitters who are stronger lefty), the Yanks had nothing.

I'm a lifelong Yankee-hater, but I was shocked by Steinbrenner's complete lack of appreciation for a player he should have done everything in his power to keep.

Yet another reason the Yanks deserve to lose.

Posted by: Ben Lange at October 21, 2004 03:10 PM

Well, except that Pettitte was also done for the season about two months ago. Of course, he wasn't as harmful in the postseason as Brown.

The Astros have really missed Pettitte and Wade Miller.

Posted by: The Crank at October 21, 2004 03:31 PM

Schilling vs. Rolen.

It's sure fun to be a Phillies fan.

Posted by: placidonothankyou at October 22, 2004 12:36 AM
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