I’m selfishly glad the Tigers game was rained out last night, since I was going to have to miss it anyway. This way I was able to listen at wor--... that is, check the score ever so briefly between bouts of massive productivity. Chien-Ming Wang pitched a beautiful game this afternoon, efficient and clean; this series really does have the feel of playoff-style baseball (knock on wood). The Tigers have played well so far, and their pitchers have been terrific, but the Yankees seem to match up fairly well against them (knock, knock) and honestly, at this point I think I’d be more afraid of the Twins or As in a short playoff series (knock, knock, knock. If things go wrong, you’re not pinning it on me).
Tonight, Jaret Wright skipped his usual white-knuckle, near-disaster, tightrope-walk-over-a-tank-of-piranhas act (which he occasionally varies with an exciting falling-into-a-tank-of-piranhas act) and pitched one of his best and longest games of the year. Of course, Scott Proctor then blew the 3-2 lead by allowing a home run in the ninth inning with two outs; but this didn't strike me as the crushing loss it might have been, since I couldn't help feeling that under normal circumstances, if Mariano Rivera or even Kyle Farnsworth had been available, things might well have gone differently.
Meanwhile, like everyone else, I made plenty of jokes about Carl Pavano and his crystalline body. But the fact that he cracked a couple of ribs in a car accident, and then didn’t tell anyone from the team so that he could try to pitch through it, tells me two things: one, Carl Pavano is not very bright; and two, he is sensitive to the heaping piles of criticism coming at him from all sides. As ridiculous as the entire situation is, I'm getting the uncomfortable feeling that at this point, everyone’s piling on the weakest kid in class. The media smells blood (today Bob Klapisch calls him a gutless 'roid-head weasel, more or less in those words) and his own teammates seem to loathe him. Yikes. Man, if they had just referred to his buttocks injury as a “lower back strain” or something, many of these PR issues could have been avoided.
A few more thoughts:
The Red Sox are now eight games back. They’ve been playing without Manny Ramirez AND David Ortiz, which is like trying to go for a jog without your legs. Big Papi is undergoing tests for an irregular heartbeat, which fortunately looks like it probably isn’t anything too serious, and there’s been a surprising outpouring of good wishes towards Ortiz from Yankee fans; I think we all have some variation on Stockholm Syndrome, wherein if you’re held hostage long enough, you start to sympathize with your captor. For someone who haunts my nightmares and inflicted seemingly permanent emotional scarring on me less than two years ago, he does seem like a nice enough guy.
Watching Sal Fasano run is a strange and oddly mesmerizing thing. Believe it or not, I'm having trouble finding a good photo of this to link to...
What the Christ is that thing on Magglio Ordonez’s head? Unacceptable. There are children watching these games.
Mustache Watch '06: Johnny Damon’s mustache is dead, long live Johnny Damon’s mustache. As a fun interactive bonus activity, repeat the phrase "mustache watch" under your breath for a few minutes and see how much sense those words make by the time you're done.