Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 6, 2003
BASEBALL: Featuring Scott Williamson in the Role Originated By Calvin Schiraldi
Except this time, the sinkerballing reliever-turned-starter-turned-reliever got the last strike. It would have been too much to see this Red Sox team go down for the want of a closer -- have you ever seen a team with so many closers, but none who could close a game (well, maybe the 1997 Mariners)? Williamson, Kim, Lowe, Timlin, Wakefield and toss in the guys who auditioned this season (Howry, Person, Todd Jones). But tonight, Lowe got the job done.
Before that . . . Man, Barry Zito's curveball is a thing of beauty; there are some pitches you cheer for and some that leave you breathless, but the only appropriate response to Zito's curve is a wolf whistle . . .
On the other hand, when I'm watching the game with my six-year-old son, I could do with a few less ads for 'Skin'. (To say nothing of last night's unsubtle single-entendre ads for Enzyte, the "natural male enhancement").
OK, Manny shouldn't have been doing his Jeff Leonard imitation in the sixth inning after his game-breaking home run, but Tom Brenneman and to a lesser extent Steve Lyons were treating him like he'd spit at a fan or something. Get off the high horses, guys; like we didn't know Manny was a bit of a hot dog at times? The guy's had a rough postseason.
The Damon-Damian Jackson head-to-temple collision was the scariest thing I've ever seen on a baseball field (live, that is; the death of John McSherry was worse). It gave me that football injury, I-hope-he-walks-again feeling as soon as I saw Damon wasn't moving. Now, the fans who gave the Red Sox a hard time while Damon was prone on the field -- they are a fit target for some fresh-off-the-shelf Canned Sportscaster Outrage.
[Lileks moment here - I interrupt this blog post when I hear my daughter fall out of bed. Heard the sound upstairs, knew right away what it was, had her up by the time she was awake enough to start crying. Hey, I got to do something to make up for spending the whole evening in front of the ballgame]
Anyway, the collision reminded me of one that looked almost as hairy at first but that both guys walked away from, the 1988 face-to-face collision between Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra that ended with Mookie's teeth marks across Lenny's nose.
The transition from Chad Bradford to Ricardo Rincon (or vice versa, as in Game 4) has to be a jarring one; Bradford's got that wacky submarine delivery and the long, snapping arms to complete the picture, while Rincon has to have the shortest arms I've ever seen on a major league pitcher.
On to the ninth . . . Steve Lyons was awfully jocular talking about Bill Buckner in the ninth inning, for a guy who was a member of the 1986 Red Sox himself; maybe he's still bitter that they traded him away. (Hey 'Psycho': never be insulted to be traded for Tom Seaver).
I could just tell there was going to be trouble almost immediately after Scott Williamson came into the game; he wasn't pitching, he was aiming. You could see it in the way he was winding up and sort of pointing his arm rather than a natural motion. Grady Little just had no choice but to get him out of there after he walked Guillen.
But Lowe got the job done. Next stop: the Bronx.