Sunday, June 18, 2006

As Thick As Hasty Pudding

Truthfully, I wasn't much of a fan.

Sure, I watched Friday night's meltdown where Lame Duck winner Gary Majewski turned a win into a tie, which Cordero would rend into another dispiriting loss.

But Saturday? I was watching the USA/Italy World Cup match (and what a match it was!). I had a game-tracker of some sort running in the background, and after Ramon Ortiz' easily expected meltdown, as manifested in the Johnny Damon slam, the attention I paid was going, going, gone.

A few minutes later, my friend called, telling me that the Nats were coming back, and reminding me of all the never-ending 4+ hour Orioles/Yankees games we've been to. He seemed optimistic. I was, I guess, too worked up over red cards to get into it. But I did reopen my game tracker.

So, I saw, in some respect, Daryle Ward's bomb. (Though the tracker's description of it being a homer to "deep right" didn't really do it justice.) And I did 'see' Robert Fick's single.

9-8? That I can watch. As the 93rd minute of the soccer game came and went, the final whistle rang, and the channel got flipped in time to see Soriano's mad dash.

I know what the stats say: Stolen bases are overrated. Good luck convincing anyone who saw him scamper to second. Or tear off for third, only to come home on the Lecroy-like throw. Here comes the tying run!

Then the fat man was there again, Daryle Ward doing what Daryle Ward has done all year, working the count, finding a way to get on base. (Who needs Marlon Stinkin' Anderson...til Sunday, at least!)

When Jose Guillen drilled a hard liner that split the outfielders, it created one of those iconic sights that anyone who was watching is going to remember: A fat man running a 90-yard dash as if he were being chased by a ghost.

It was the kind of baseball moment I love, full of mental calculus, full of questions that continuously adjust each microsecond as your eyes take in more and more information. Guillen swings: single? Can Ward get to third? He's looking slow now! OK, Guillen to second? Wait? They're still not to the ball, can he score? No, look how slow he is! But wait, are they going to send him? Where's Guillen? They're just now getting to the ball? Can he make it? Is he running out of steam? Is that relay throw good? Looks high? Is he gassed? YES! Holy Crap!

Here's the play. Even now it makes me smile. I love the way Ward slows that 290-pound frame as he tries to shift his bulk 90 degrees when coming around third. So dainty are his steps! Can you imagine what was going through his mind? He must've thought the outfielders collided, how else to explain him being asked to go three bases? I love that stuff!

Last year had Carlos Baerga's piston legs (thanks, Barry!) huffing and puffing, pumping up and down furiously while his body seemed to go nowhere. This year, we have an offensive tackle doing ballet before shifting the tractor back up into gear.

Needless to say, he gets the Whip!

But oh, to have been a part of it from beginning to glorious end! How sweet the victory must've been for the tired, sweaty fans -- or demoralizing depending on your color of hat. The fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth (Ode To Joy) is spectacluar, but nothing can come close to it when it's the culimination of three previous moments. Sure, I enjoyed the mad dash, but to have been there and seen everything leading to it? I'm jealous.

  • But today, I was a worse fan. Today's game was part of my season ticket package. When Ryan Zimmerman hit his shot heard 'round the 'burbs, where was I? Skyline Drive. Yep. I gave my tickets away. So you're not going to hear from me about the majesty of the shot.

    Instead, watch this, and listen to Charlie Slowes' perfect call of the homer, and see the joy on everyone's face. (The highlight for most people comes at the 24-second mark, when a bejerseyed Jeter fan slinks off)

    You'll note that they use the radio feed instead of the MASN call. That's because Tom Paciorek is an embarrassment.
    Carpenter: Zimmerman!
    TP: YES!!
    C: There it goes!
    C: Yeah!
    Several seconds of silence....
    TP: [Cackles like the Emperor from Star Wars]

    You're not a fan, Tom. You're an analyst. You can be a homer without resorting to grunts.

  • After games like the last two, I like to see what other people have to say. Bronx Banter's my favorite Yankees blog, and it's interesting to skim through their game chatters to get their impressions and to gauge their feelings. Here's Saturday's. Here's Sunday's.

  • Triple Play notes that Saturday's pre-comeback score was eerily familiar.

  • Curly W was there on Saturday, and shares his story, and in the process makes me envious: I was jumping up and down in my seat so high that I almost fell over a railing.

  • Just A Nats Fan blogged both games, and got some interesting screen shots of a very excited Zimmerman.


    • I wasn't much of a fan, either, completely missing the Saturday rally (but watching every second of USA's tough draw against the Azzurri).

      But my brother and I were in the car after running a Sunday errand, and happened to flip the radio on to the Nats game just in time for the walk-off. I heard Charlie change his tone of voice, reached over for the volume, turned it up. And there we both were, going absolutely NUTS in the middle of the street, yelling and hollering and cheering. Bang, zoom!

      In other news: For those of you who speak Spanish, and need to get your World Cup fix, tune to 730 on the AM play-by-play with Andres Cantor with color commentary by Carlos Valderrama. Good stuff if you can't get to a TV.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/19/2006 10:18 AM  

    • Well, Pacieorek did
      Study at the foot of Hawk

      By Blogger Senor Beavis, at 6/19/2006 2:01 PM  

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