Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Fan's Been Sick

{{Switching to first person}} I got a call from my son on Sunday. He said that he'd heard I'd been sick. "Yes," I wheezed. Sometimes he and his wonderful lady friend, who he should hurry up and marry, were supposed to come over for dinner, but I politely asked if he could let the old man moan and groan on the couch alone for the weekend. He understood. But then he mentioned that I hadn't written my blog for a day or two. I guess that's what happens when you write over 550 entries in a baseball season and miss a day or two. I should be thankful that he reads regularly. It's kind of a bonding thing. But then the pride kicks in a little bit and the thought occurs to me that he's written two whole entries in HIS blog in five months and he's making me feel guilty? Puh! Oh well. That's life.

I was thinking about that as I semi-watched the Yankees clinch the American League pennant. By semi-watched, I mean that I watched a few of the early innings, but after the Angels scored the first run and the Yankees started leaving men on base, I retreated to the basement to play Hearts. I have become such a stress coward. I can't seem to take it for some reason. But to be like that is to miss so much of what makes baseball such a grand game. I need a sports psychologist I think. Do you suppose John Smoltz would refer me to his? Doubtful.

As I was thinking about what my son said about the empty blog days, the other thought occurred to me that I built some momentum with all those blog posts. Readership tripled over the summer. They have dwindled down again some. Do the big-time writers worry about that stuff? Do they pour over the web reports and see who came and who didn't and in what numbers and what the trends are? Do they write stories they think will bring more people to the site? Nah. Couldn't be. But I have to admit that I think about that when considering what I am going to write about. It's a losing proposition I have concluded. You can only write what you are passionate about and in the end, the whole will be valued over the parts. At least that's what I think now. Next week might bring different conclusions.

Okay, so what about the Yankees and the Angels? Well, there is good news and bad news for the Yankees. The good news is that Sabathia is spectacular and A-Rod has come into his October prime. Pettitte is reliable and is money when the going gets tough. Jeter is still Jeter and does the little things that sometimes turn the tide. The bad news is that A. J. Burnett is as reliable as those pilots who somehow missed the Minneapolis airport. Swisher, Cano and Matsui were terrible in the clutch. And Phil Hughes has lost his mojo. The sort of good news is that Mariano Rivera still gets it done but it is a bit worrisome that he topped out at about 89 MPH in that last game. Mo is like the wall of a great old city against the franks and other hordes. The people depend on that wall and have for a long time. But sooner or later, you know that wall is going to come down. Perhaps it will wait until some time after this world series. One can hope so.

It was kind of sad the way the season ended for the Angels. They are such a solid team, but when it came down to the end, they just kept messing up: errors, base running blunders...things you wouldn't expect them to do. Personally, I don't think those two runs the Angels gave up in the 8th would have made any difference in the final outcome. Rivera had no trouble with the last three batters who went 1-2-3. But even so, from a mental standpoint, to see a guy like Kazmir, who hadn't been to war with the club all season, at least until the end, kick that bunt into right field had to be a morale crusher. I mean, if one of your tried and true warriors from the entire season messes up, well, he's family, you know? And how mad would you have been after Jeter's comebacker when Kazmir then makes a point of throwing his best fastball to first? The butthole.

As for the World Series, I'm just glad Jeter, Mo, Posada and Pettitte will get to taste it again. It would be nice if they could win it. But I'm just happy they put some ghosts to bed and got there.

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