Monday, May 18, 2009
The Fun Is Back in The Bronx
It really does stun me how much time has gone by. Reggie's 1977 World Series heroics are now as far back in time as Joe DiMaggio's feats were in 1977. That is stunning to me. It is also stunning to realize that I am now older than Lou Gehrig and Thurman Munson lived to be.
I guess I'll really start to feel it when the 1976-81 Yankees start dying of old age. Thurman was killed in a plane crash, Catfish Hunter developed, of all things, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and Jim Spencer died of a heart attack when not especially old. But most of the major players from that team are still around, and many of them are still actively involved in baseball in some form or another.
But let's get back to the present. It's getting to be pretty good.
I don't know if any team has ever swept a three-game series with walkoff hits in every game. Melky Cabrera's single in the 9th on Friday night. Alex Rodriguez's homer in the 11th yesterday. Johnny Damon's homer in the 10th today.
Mark Teixeira has benefited from A-Rod's protection and made a fabulous play at first to save 2 runs in the 8th today. And we got good pitching in all three games. And the Minnesota Twins are a good team, too.
If the Mets had gotten something like this, their fans would be in full "We're taking over New York!" mode over it. (Hell, some of the Flushing Heathen think they already have taken over. Idiots -- if Red Sox fans don't mind me using that term on Met fans!)
My favorite game from the weekend was the Friday nighter. Going from a tie to a win in extra innings is great. Going from losing to having won in one swing in the bottom of the 9th, even if it's a "mere" single, especially when it's by a guy who was almost run out of town (Melky, not A-Rod) but has come back to deliver big-time, is more satisfying. Especially since it made the A-Rod and Damon walkoffs less surprising. But no less enjoyable.
Right now, the Yankees are playing like the 2006 Mets were said to play. Except the 2006 Mets had Aaron Heilmann and Billy Wagner. The 2009 Yankees have Mariano Rivera, and even a slightly diminished Rivera is still the best closer in the game.
That the Yankees have considerably loosened up breaks one of the biggest criticisms of the team, that they were too uptight, too "corporate." Maybe it's Damon's former Boston "idiotness" rubbing off on them. Maybe it's Teixeira proving that the early criticism didn't faze him. Maybe it's the new blood on the mound, the Initial Boys, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. (Still not sure why Sabathia dropped the periods.) Maybe it's Melky rediscovering what Kevin Costner taught us in Bull Durham: "This is a fun game. Let's have some fun, damn it!"
In the Subway Squawkers blog, Squawker Lisa tempered her usual good writing with continued gushing over A-Rod and yet another criticism of Derek Jeter, saying that Captain Clutch talks in a "Peanuts Teacher Monotone." You know: "Wha-WHA, wha-WHA, wha-WHA-wha-wha-WHA!"
I have to admit, she's right. Aside from the way he plays baseball, he's actually fairly dull. At least, when he's not dating a gorgeous actress. (Megan Fox has left Brian Austin Green. How long before she shows up at some Meatpacking District club with Derek?) But Derek can talk any way he wants,as long as he still helps the Yankees' opponents say, "Auuuugh! I can't stand it! My stomach hurts! I'm depressed, Linus!" As well as the aforementioned, "Good grief!"
It's just as well. Anyone who hates the Yankees should be addressed as, "You blockhead!"
(UPDATE: Fox and Green got back together, got married, and had 2 kids... before splitting up again.)