19 October 2004

Spinal Tap Baseball

It seems that there's some cosmic force out there,working behind the scenes, to make sure that the Yankees-Red Sox games don't end at a reasonable hour. Prime-Time, drive-time, nine-innings, extra innings, it doesn't matter: this is the series that goes up to Eleven. PM, that is.

I need some sleep.

A week ago, my job necessitated me getting up at 2:30 AM to go with my boss as he made a presentation to the Navy regarding a research contract we were given. We spent about six hours driving to the facility in Maryland (roughly twice as long as I slept the night before) and spent a few hours in the meeitng itself. I got home about 7:30 on Tuesday night and then stayed up another three or four hours watching the Yankee-Red Sox game, which we won, 10-7, largely thanks to Curt Schilling's bum ankle. A game in which we were up 6-0 after two innings, and in which our own pitcher had been perfect through six innings, would not require me to stay up to watch the inevitable outcome, but as we now know, you'd have been wrong to think that. The Sox rallied to as close as 8-7 before the Yanks put them away for good, and despite only three hours of sleep and a 17-hour work day, I saw the whole thing, all three hours and 20 minutes of it.

Then, the very next night, still recuperating from the Needless Business Trip From Hell, another nail-biter (I may need to start with my toes soon...), another 3:15 game time, but a 3-1 victory. Saturday night, fans in Boston and around the country got to witness the longest nine-inning post season game in history, four hours and 20 minutes, a 19-8 laugher that looked like it might be competitive until about the third inning. I watched all of that one too, figuring that it was Saturday and that I wouldn't have to get up as early for church as I do for work. Sunday's game started at "Prime Time" and ended well into Monday, after five hours and two minutes, the longest post season game time ever, this time a Yankee loss, 6-4 in 12 innings. I missed most of that, having gone to bed at 11:00 or so, with the score 4-3 Yanks in the sixth, I think. No problem, New York was still up, three games to one in the Series.

And then Monday night, not to be outdone by, well, themselves, the Yanks and Sox played almost SIX HOURS, and ended with another Yankee loss, 5-4. Amazingly, this game started at about 5PM EST, and when my friends left after Monday Night Poker at about 9:30, I still got to watchan hour and a half of edge-of-your-seat baseball. This game was so long that I could have watched Patton twice! Then I could have rewound the tape to watch General Montgomery's embarassing entry into Palermo a third time, and still turned the game on i time to see David Ortiz single into center field to win the game, almost exactly as the clock struick 11:00. PM, that is.

By my count, that's a total of 21 and 3/4 hours of baseball in a week. Posada's and Varitek's knees must be killing them.

So the Yanks are now clinging to a 3-2 lead in the series. Assuming that they don't get rained out again, I expect the Yankees to wrap it up tonight. Here's why:

1) Jon Lieber is pitching for New York. Including the postseason, he's 12-3 with a 3.55 ERA at Yankee Stadium this year, compared to 3-5, 5.19 on the road. I don't understand it, but heck, it seems to work.

B) Curt Schilling is pitching for the Red Sox. Schilling's ankle, as you may recall, apparently consists of a lot of bailing twine and chewing gum, not unlike Curtis Leskanic's shoulder or Manny Ramirez' hair. I don't care if he wears the damn Ruby Slippers on the mound tonight, he won't be able to pitch well.

iii) Jeff Kellogg won't be behind the plate. There are few things that irk me more than an umpire with a Kleenex-sized strike zone that floats around home plate as erratically as, well, a Kleenex. Late strike calls is one of them. Kellogg does both. Enjoy that foul line assignment, Jeff! Can't say we'll miss you.

d) No one has ever, in the history of professional baseball, come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a 7-game series. Ever. And it's not gonna start now.

V) The Curse. No, not the stupid Curse of the Bambino. That's just an excuse for poor performance and/or bad luck. I'm talking about the Curtis Curse. No team with two pitchers named Curtis has EVER gotten to the World Series. Curt Schilling and Curtis Leskanic can wrap their bodies in as much duct tape and super glue as they want, it won't erase 100+ years of baseball history!

You could look it up.


By the way, I stumbled across a new baseball blog today, Fall Classic. Go check them out.

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