Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pesky Blue Jays Beat Mariano; Grete Waitz, 1953-2011

The reason I call the Toronto Blue Jays "the Pesky Blue Jays" has nothing to do with long-ago Boston Red Sox shortstop and longtime coach Johnny Pesky -- although his double-play partner, Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doerr, was on the Jays' 1st coaching staff when they came into the American League in 1977.

No, it's because the Jays ruined the 1st major league sporting event I was ever taken to, beating the Yankees 4-1 at the original Yankee Stadium on May 27, 1978. And, ever since, the Jays have made trouble for the Yankees, taking Division titles they should have won in 1985 and 1993, and acting as a spoiler for the Yankees in other races.

Does it make sense to still hate them? No, of course not. But then, when has sports made sense?

Last night, the Yankees led the Jays 5-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning at the SkyDome. Excuse me, just "SkyDome," no "the." Excuse me, at Rogers Centre (again, no "the").

Mark Teixeira hit his league-leading 6th homer, and Curtis Granderson hit his 5th. A.J. Burnett wasn't great, but he was able to hand it over to David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano, all of whom pitched scoreless relief. And Mariano Rivera, who hadn't allowed a run, much less blown a save, in the young season thus far was on the mound. The game was in the bag.

Shut up, Lee Corso... "Not so fast, my friend!"

Yunel Escobar hit a 1-out double off Mo, and that led to a 2-run Jays 9th that sent the game to extra innings. The Yankees did not score in the top of the 10th, and Ivan Nova, normally a starter, let it slip away. Jays 6, Yanks 5. WP: Jon Rauch (1-1). LP: Nova (1-2).

The Yankees are still in 1st place, 2 games ahead of the Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, 2 1/2 ahead of the Baltimore Orioles, and in each of these cases they are 3 ahead in the loss column. The Boston Red Sox are 4 1/2 have back, 5 in the loss column.

The Yanks look to rebound in a game getting underway within minutes of me posting this, Bartolo Colon starting against Brett Cecil. After missing 2 games, Alex Rodriguez is expected to play.

They'd better win, not just after last night, and not just after the Knicks bottled it twice against the Celtics in Scum Town, but after yet another referee stabbed Arsenal in the back this afternoon (evening, their time) in the derby, turning what should have been a 4-2 Arsenal win into a 3-3 draw with Tottenham: A Robin van Persie goal waved off for offside (the replay showed that to be a blatant lie), and a bogus penalty given to Spurs for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny tripping a player up (it was a legit move for the ball and no intent to injure).

Jeter 2940 60
Rivera 566 35
A-Rod 617 146
Magic Number 144


Grete Waitz died yesterday. She won the New York City Marathon 9 times. How many times, Ed Rooney? "NINE TIMES!" She broke the women's marathon record by 2 minutes in 1978, and it was the 1st marathon the former middle-distance (400 to 1,500 meters) specialist had ever run. As much as race creator Fred Lebow and American marathoner Bill Rodgers, she made the New York Marathon a big event.

In 1992, when Lebow turned 60, but was already stricken with the cancer that would kill him, Grete ran the race with him, in 5 hours, 32 minutes and 35 seconds -- about 3 hours longer than it usually took her.

Yesterday, she, too, died of cancer, in her hometown of Oslo, the capital of Norway. She was only 57, and left a husband, but no children.

UPDATE: She was buried at the Cemetery of Our Saviour in Oslo.

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