August, September, BASEBALL!, November, December. Part 2

Getting It out of My System

I’m from the Bay Area. Hate the Dodgers (it’s genetic, and it’s the law), and Puig + Machado have given me new reasons. But I hate the Yankees for obvious reasons, and the Red Sox (and their cheating Green Monster) for slightly less obvious reasons. I’ll be watching the World Series with a bottle of whiskey slowly dripping into my slit wrist (for a Dodger/Yankee WS I slit BOTH wrists). Here in Seattle, we don’t like much of anything from Boston (this mainly has to do with the NFL and baked beans) and are drafting legislation to build a wall around Bean Town.

All that said, I’m gonna have to watch, and root for the Red Sox of Boston to continue their roll and roll over Los Angeles. Um, Go Boston!!! But the sober words of my OTHER next-door neighbor ring and thud: I can’t get too excited about that matchup. But regardless of the uniforms, the World Series rarely disappoints.

And we’re off! These two teams met in the World Series 102 years ago as the Brooklyn Robins and the Boston Red Sox. Babe Ruth pitched 11 innings in a 13-inning Game 2. Casey Stengel played. All cool facts.

You have to admire manager and hero of Puerto Rico Alex Cora for having persistent faith in David Price, that the 0-9 postseason record was a curse that he could break. And he did.

Boston seems to be that steamroller, up 2 games and watch out for Porcello in Game 3. I hope that the BoSox sweep the Dodgers, so I can get back to hating them . . . okay, hating them a little bit less, pass the whiskey jar.

They say that it’s pitching that wins big playoff series, but it’s not pitching alone, as we saw this year. The irony of this year’s series is that the two teams with the best pitching staffs, the Astros and the Brewers, are the ones that just missed competing in the World Series. Explosive L.A. and Boston hittersdelivered often enough, while Houston’s and Milwaukee’s sluggers didn’t.

 

The Longest Game in World Series History

Perhaps the most Shakespearean Moment was not of the players but of the play. Game 3, at 18 innings and 7 hours 20 minutes, was the longest (in innings and time) World Series game ever. Not a pitching duel, but a pitching free-for-all, with a record-setting 18 pitchers used in what ended as a 3-2 Dodger victory. Consider that, in a losing effort, Nathan Eovaldi was perhaps the Most Valuable Player of this game. In relief, he threw 97 pitches and gave the Red Sox 6+ innings, so many opportunities for them to win when the rest of their pitching lineup was spent and exhausted. And props to Eduardo Nuñez, who looked to be suffering multiple injuries in superhuman efforts to save plays…and he just kept on playing.*

In fact, Game 3 saw a tour de force of pitching, a 1-1 tie going into the 13th,and 2-2 into the 14th. The SEVEN AND A HALF HOUR marathon was like watching a no-hitter in that by the 11thinning, the tension rose, and you just couldn’t take your eyes off the screen. The game went past midnight, and World Series fans were bleary for the next day’s game.

One of the problems with the current game is that coaches and parents and the youth-sports industry are pushing talented kids too hard, and many ages 15-19 are getting Tommy Johns [elbow ligament reconstruction] surgery from overdoing it. What’s a bit counterintuitive is that one of the strongest arms in the Boston pitching stable is this very same Nathan Eovaldi, who regularly makes 100mph pitches. He’s had TWO Tommy John surgeries, the first when he was a teen. But one in seven youth who get the surgery never actually recover from the original injury…and I’d never say it should be deliberately sought.

Littel of Boston sez…How can you not love this World Series? Of course it’s easier right now as a Boston diehard, but even that 18 inning marathon that was game 3… You know there are so many ghosts this time of year, some woven into the fabric of the Fall Classic. There’s the ghost of author W.P. Kinsella and his book “Iowa Baseball Confereacy” to remind us that 18 innings is chump change—there was a game once in Iowa, went 40 days and 40 nights, 2500 full innings—until the Big Muddy rose and swept away town, ballfield, and every last witness. There’s the ghost of Marvin Miller who helped forge the Players Union, wagging a bony finger at the Dodgers for carelessly crossing a picket line in Boston. Or the ghost of Elvis, getting ready to sing there’ll be peace in the valley someday, or Chavez Ravine, whatever. The ghost I hear on the cool wind in late October is that of Red Smith, a flawed but brilliant sportswriter who said it all, “Baseball is like church—many attend but few comprehend.”

 

But We’re Not Done Yet

Yes yes yes, in Game 4 LA gets the mighty mo, and after 6 innings tonight it’s looking grim at 4-0. But holy cow those Boston boys come barreling back. A return to the form that got them here. And here we feel this amazing team energy that courses through the BoSox. There’s just this gut feeling that the energy is shared, so we don’t know which player is going to benefit or when, but you know that someone will make a great fielding play, strike the other guy out, hit a home run or stretch a single into a triple. No mistakes and all the right decisions. The Boston Red Sox found that mojo in Game 4 and it only got stronger in the World Series victory in Game 5.

Tales of the World Series pitchers: Kershaw can pitch a great game, but was just as likely to get shelled. His postseason curse continues. Joe Kelly emerged as a top reliever. Buehler IS the Dodger Ace. Sale is Boston’s. David Price reversed his bad reputation with THREE wins. Madson the Goat played a role in every Dodger loss, and I’ll spare him the indignities of their recitation. Rich Hill gave perhaps the ace-iest performances, but a game he had in hand fell victim to a miscommunication.

…and as far as TV commentary goes, having Big Papí was a hoot and a holler and historically significant, he’s the King of Boston.

The Red Sox won five World Series in the beginning of the 20thcentury, and four so far in the beginning of the 21st. May there be baseball in the 22nd. See you there!

*Eduardo Nuñez in Game 3: https://youtu.be/dElFEjDRosE  Knocked over by a catcher in the 13th—a ‘sacrifice’ single: he’s safe but he ends up falling down and on his back, same inning—he makes a catch but ends up on his back after spilling over the rails into the seats, bottom of the same inning—runs into and trips over the pitcher’s mound as he fields a Yasiel Puig pop up in the bottom of the 16th… the tv commentator observes ”every time we show Nuñez he’s on the ground.” He also made some critical hits throughout . . . a tough buddy, a gamer.

And now we turn to our man in the field Jeremy “Capone” Carey for this summary of all of the above:

Man that 18 inning game was insane!!! I listened to every pitch because I was driving to Spokane during the game and then my brothers tv was acting up so we decided to go to his shop, crack some cold ones and grab a bottle of whiskey and start a fire. Let’s just say the bottle didn’t last the entirety of the game…and I almost lost my voice lol what a game tho!! Game 4’s late game rally sealed the fate of the series I felt. That really killed LA’s morale and boosted Boston’s tenfold. Machado is lower than dirt in my eyes. Dirtiest player who deserved last night’s loss more than anyone on that field. I can finally trim my goatee now that October baseball is over lol…

I love hearing this song by The Standells when the media go all Boston. I’m gonna tell you a big fat story, baby:

Dirty Water by The Standells

[Oh, Boston, You’re My Home]  

I’m gonna tell you a story
I’m gonna tell you about my town
I’m gonna tell you a big fat story, baby
Aw, it’s all about my town

Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the River Charles
(Aw, that’s what’s happenin’ baby)
That’s where you’ll find me
Along with lovers, muggers, and thieves
(Aw, but they’re cool people)

Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home
(Oh, you’re the number one place)

Frustrated women (I mean they’re frustrated)
Have to be in by twelve o’clock (oh, that’s a shame)

Songwriters: E. Cobb / Dirty Water lyrics © Music Sales Corporation

 

But I’m wishin’ and a-hopin’, oh
That just once those doors weren’t locked
(I like to save time for my baby to walk around)

Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, yeah)

Because I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home (oh, yeah)

Well, I love that dirty water (I love it, baby)
I love that dirty water (I love Boston)
I love that dirty water (Have you heard about the strangler?)
I love that dirty water (I’m the man, I’m the man)
I love that dirty water (Ow)
I love that dirty water (Come on, come on)

Epilogue

Chrissy Hynde sang It’s a thin line between love and hate.  Well, it’s also a thin line between hate and love. And the bittersweet beauty of this little play is that (and folks, just because it’s been going on for over 100 years doesn’t mean it’s serious) is that I feel pretty good about the Dodgers losing, long enough to rekindle those sparks of love for the Red Sox (yet I do wonder…how DO you underinflate a baseball?).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.