…but in the end it’s all the same anyway. Or is it?
By the time I came in from O’Hare on Monday April 2, the anticipation of Opening Day had ended, with the Northsiders’ loss to the Reds in Cincinnati with Zambrano falling to Harang and the Southsiders’ self-defeating home opener in which Contreras finally left the mound with a 63.00 ERA, leaving Cleveland’s starter Sabathia to win handily if shakily. (Yankee fan that I am, I have always said with goodwill, God bless the White Sox if you can get Contreras to pitch for you. And, you did. Once in awhile, in moments like this, deja vu floods all over again, and I have to remind myself that he’s not mine any more. Don’t worry. He always seems to come out of it for you. Sigh. I was so glad to get Loaiza in return. Wish we still had him.)
Sports radio was mourning the joint losses and that’s about all it was doing. I got no serious recaps, and even heard nothing about Sabathia — who had given his team an injury scare in the last game of spring training, leaving everyone wondering if like last season he like Loaiza (Oakland) would be spending an early portion of the season on the DL. (Right- Photo of Loaiza by Jeff Chiu/AP)
In fact, I would have heard little about either game without settling in for the late night with The Score, WSCR, and even they were covering college football — while acting cute — when I tuned in.
I avoid contrasting cities because it smacks of measuring siblings against each other and I hear that’s bad. Not having any, I wouldn’t know, but I do not want to step on toes, so I will say no more than this:
In NYC, even left-leaning news & talk radio AIR AMERICA (1600 AM) gives better baseball detail about important games (Opening Day, games against Boston, post-season games) than I heard about the Cubs or the Right Sox on sports talk radio here. I’m sure there were the usual postgame shows, but really!
Thank goodness for MLB.com Radio and TV! I subscribe to the premium package and I recommend it. Years ago, I started with the audio alone, and stayed with that for a couple years. It’s a terrific deal, and when I had access only to my home dial-up connection, it was the wisest deal, too. Can you believe that we can watch or listen to Vin Scully any time we want? If it’s just on audio, it’s $14.95 for the whole season!! No, I’m not being paid by MLB.com! I was just so glad to have it when I couldn’t find any late night baseball talk radio!
Well, we should be fair. The Mets and Cardinals opened the Season. But today is the Yankees’ opener, and PAVANO is starting. Our year will be um interesting! I am hopeful of course yet I sense some inanity in our roster. Perhaps Miguel Cairo will learn a new position or two. I close this brief entry with the last 2 paragraphs of George King’s article in today’s New York POST:
A 61-64 career pitcher, Pavano signed a four-year, $40 million dealafter the 2004 season and has pitched in 17 games (4-6; 4.77 ERA) for
"He has the ability to certainly have the fans
embrace him," Torre said. "He is a good guy. I know some bad things
have happened around him and probably he is responsible for most of
them. But hopefully, with the understanding that the priority is
baseball, I think he is in a pretty good place right now. He has to go
out and pitch. If he stays healthy, I am very confident he will do
PLAY BALL!! Let’s go Yankees!
He blurted it, like a boy opening his best birthday present, in front of everyone. (He was about to turn 48, and has just done so.)
"This is going in my bedroom. Right over the bed."
Instinctively, immediately, he wanted to sleep under a photograph with breadth that would stretch panoramically across the bed, as the sky that night had swagged Tiger Stadium and hovered, encouragingly, over our seats on the Front Porch. These were terrific seats, which he had somehow sniffed out as we walked toward Michigan and Trumbull to sold-out Tiger Stadium, where he had himself once suited-up, and where after this night the still-inconceivable no one would.
We almost never got there. An apparently convincing phone call to him at his Mother’s, made from Lenox Hill Hospital, where my only friend-with-child had just given birth, worked. On a hospital payphone, I learned that he was too tired, had too much to do, that the game didn’t matter so late in the season, etc. Then, he changed his mind. I should ask him if he remembers exactly why, because this is not a common occurrence. We agreed to meet in an outdoor smoking area on the boarding level, if I remember right. Seven serious-sounding words from one late-arriver to an even-later-arriver still echo: "Now, Sharon, I do not miss airplanes." arriving from different states, we made the plane.
What a gift to me was his reaction — regardless of whether his girlfriend asks him to put the photograph somewhere else. These were not feelings I had even hoped to touch in him or myself. In fact, I am glad for my innocence, as I am not sure I could have brought myself to give him this photograph knowing how stirred he and I would be.
I will not try to break someone up, yet also not be will not be dishonest about my own feelings. Now, what good is this? Well, something good happened on his birthday, whatever it was. I do not require definitions and stats for every play every day.
That is another episode of Marc and me, and as usual, that’s baseball.
Thanks, Gremse, as always. We know you’re watching.
CBS Sportsline GLOG — Live play-by-play with commentary
RARE VIDEO OF EXTENDED STEVE TRACHSEL INTERVIEW before Game 3 of the 2006 NLDS, against his and my own hometown childhood team, the late 70s and early 80s Los Angeles Dodgers, when he rooted against his manager Willie Randolph, who was then 2nd baseman for those foes the New York Yankees.
Trachsel Workout Day Interview If this doesn’t work, try the link below:
Trachsel Workout Day Interview Look under OCTOBER 6 and click.
He has not been to a postseason game at Dodger Stadium since he was 10 or 11, and now he’s working for a recent Yankee on a team that was built in 1962 to fill the hole left in the souls of Brooklyn Dodger Fans, New York Giants Fans too. The team of orange and blue. That’s Baseball. (I miss Mark Gremse. No question where he would stand on this match-up, though, even if I was his favorite LA Dodger fan. Oddly, there might be a healing circularity in pulling for Trachsel, who, as a Cub in 1998, knocked out his beloved Giants in that one-game playoff to get to the NLDS. Two stories go with that, and they are here and here.)
YANKEES @ TIGERS
By Mike Bauman / MLB.com 10/05/06 6:57 PM ETBy Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com 10/05/06 2pm ETRogers’ storied 2nd-half collapse turned out to be false prophecy:
"Rogers went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in August and 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in September…‘We got ourselves a pitcher," Leyland said, "and he’s been fantastic.’"
By Jack O’Connell / MLB.com 10/05/06 6:35 PM ET
…yeah, yeah, yeah. We know.
This week’s Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Awards go to…
- David Wells (2-4, 4.71) Fri 9-14-06 5IP 2ER 1 BB
Wrap + Box Dodgers-3 Padres-2 Wells-L Maddux-W–19-19–4.22, Broxton-H-9-2.51, Saito-S-19-1.93
Wells pitched a beautiful game against the Dodgers, excepting the 4th inning, when he unravelled after surrendering an unheard-of — for him — walk. Unravelling — for him — nowadays means giving up 2 runs in 5 innings. Why just 5, I do not know. Fellow 40+ man Greg Maddux no-hit the Padres into the 7th, leaving Wells no offense to work with.
- Shawn Chacon (6-6, 6.49) Th 9-13-06 7IP 2ER 1BB
- Wrap + Box Milwaukee 2 @ Pittsburgh 1 Chacon-L Sheets-W–5-7–4.08, Cordero-S-18–3.61
Chacon drew a hand very similar to Wells’ when he lost 2-1 to the Brewers. Like Wells, his opposing pitcher — Ben Sheets in Chacon’s case — pitched a no-no deep into the game. Unlike Wells, he will receive less sympathy, despite his recent return from the DL for knee problems, like Wells, which, unlike Wells’, are unrepaired. Chacon is playing hurt — what he has is a publically-realeased diagnosis, better than he got from the Yankees, who gave him nothing but rumors, a demotion, and, in the end, a 1-way ticket to Pittsburgh.
Links to the YES Network’s Jim Kaat Tributes:
Calling It a Career, and more
- When the YES Network booth crowds up with Kay, Kenny, and Oh-Mercer, and you can’t figure out how you could possibly be missing anyone’s voice, it will be Jim "Kitty" Kaat’s that you are straining for. His sharp, well-timed explanations of pitching strategy and execution has reminded us that baseball is a skill and an art to be appreciated, and that we "pay" all these people because they have specialties the others do not know about.
Time to make it formal. Turn the TV volume off. Turn on John and Suzyn on WCBS AM. The timing will be a little off, but we will know the score and get some analysis at least. Suzyn lacks the insight of a player and could use a mentor like Mr. Kaat. Meantime, she out-schools the bunch in the big Yes broadcast box in the sky.
- We’ll miss you, Kitty. Meow, baby, as Kojak would say. Good luck, and please do not be a stranger. Stop by the WCBS booth if you get a chance.
I wish vacation had interfered with my blogging — alas times have been tough. Thank goodness for baseball. If the Yankees can come from behind, take first place, and hold it for weeds, all with the "B" team, I can take inspiration, and consider blogging baseball a survival tool. I will use this spot today to note a few players and games that have meant something to me over the last few weeks.
- After recovering from abdominal strain, CC Sabathia found his form, and with an August record of 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 6 starts, his season took root, as did that of the Indians’. (He has also pitched 5 complete games, the most of anyone at this point.) Cleveland might have gained more momentum had manager Eric Wedge not felt the fatherly urge to send poor young Fausto Carmona out to face the Monster — the intimidating crowd at Fenway — again, after his first disastrous attempt at closing there. This is when those late inning walk-off wins of David Ortiz really took off, when the Yankees were neck-and-neck with the Red Sox. (CC did win in Boston, by the way.)
- Also injured and spotty early this season, Esteban Loaiza has had a great August.
Writing from Chicago, I welcome the opinions of local broadcasters who are unfettered by lifetimes of complexes about the Red Sox. Cubs and White Sox announcers have already got the team slow-cooked and eaten, in a kind of cannibalistic Boston Clam Chowder, self-heated (from the implosion).
Of course we will win, all things going well today against the Gone to Bed Sox. Just a couple notes of caution before we bring out the brooms for the season:
- 2004. (Translation: Be wary of 3-in-a-row malaise!)
- Two of our best pitchers started this series, Wang and Johnson. Two of their best pitchers close it, Schilling and Wells. Of course, we have Mussina tonight. And remember to bring the ice cream for Corey Lidle tomorrow. Anyone know his favorite flavors?