photo by Samara Pearlstein
Two games into the season, it is obviously impossible to make any definitive statements about the team. Especially when those two games have come in cool, damp weather, against a team of players that have managed to convince themselves they’re underdogs despite the fact that they have the highest payroll in the entire sport. You can’t take the first two games of the season, played under those circumstances, and declare them representative of the rest of 2011.
But did you see Brad Penny’s line? Eight runs, seven hits (two doubles and a homer), four walks, and all that in only 4.1 innings. Basically we’re doomed. DOOMED. I mean, he didn’t look mediocre out there– he looked awful.
Maybe it was the weather. Maybe the cavernous Yankee Stadium, so underpopulated in the lower deck, freaked him out. Maybe he was still shaking off First Game of the Season rust. Maybe he didn’t like the feel of the mound. Maybe he just didn’t have It, where It is “whatever it is that Brad Penny sometimes has that makes him seem like a real actual Major League pitcher.” Rick Knapp thinks that Penny was too pumped up, which made him unable to throw his tire-me-out-first-please sinker effectively, which then threw off the rest of his repertoire.
Maybe he’s just not quite good enough to take on the New York lineup. He pitched against them twice when he was with the Red Sox, and the combined result was a 7.20 ERA with a .364 batting average against. There’s a cheerful thought for your second game of the season!
Of course, I suppose it’s possible that I’m wildly overreacting because I’m still traumatized by Penny-in-Boston, and it kills me to have any team I care about lose to the Yankees, and sweet fancy Paws we are going to be a million games behind Chicago because they have been smacking the covers off the baseballs, etc etc. I mean. It’s possible.
(This game was so bad that the Yankees felt comfortable subbing Eric Chavez in for ARod in the later innings, and letting him get an at-bat. Think about that. Then turn your thoughts away from it and concentrate on Brandon Inge’s two hits, or Victor Martinez’s two hits, or Austin Jackson’s home run. Oooo, shiny. Don’t look at that murky stuff back there.)
How agonizing was the Fox broadcast of this one, by the way? Talk about adding insult to injury. I think the whole breath-takingly awful thing can be summed up in two examples.
Tim McCarver says: “I just had a thought.” Uh oh, I think, and possibly say out loud. McCarver, talking to Joe Buck right after ARod’s double, goes on to say the following.
“You’re the first person in the world to have been a sports broadcaster when Alex Rodriguez was fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz, and fed a fastball by Brad Penny!”
He then goes quiet, almost audibly glowing with pride at that observation. Is he slowly losing his already-tenuous grip on reality? I think maybe so.
Two Yankees fans sitting close to the field (behind one of the dugouts or something) got engaged during the game. The cameras showed them hugging, and later sitting next to each other with the girl wiping her eyes and looking happy. One of them was wearing a Jeter jersey, and the other was wearing a Posada jersey. Buck made some awkward comment about Jeter and Posada being joined together in holy matrimony via this (ostensibly) heterosexual couple, all well and good.
Except Buck and McCarver had noticed that, while both people involved were wearing Yankee jerseys, one was wearing a home jersey and one was wearing an away jersey. Why does this matter? It doesn’t, as all sane and normal people know, but for some reason they decided to make a BIG FREAKIN DEAL about this. They went on about oooooo, home versus away! oooo they’ll have to navigate a rivalry, ooooo! It was like they saw an away Yankee jersey and visualized it as a Red Sox jersey or something. It made NO SENSE.
BUT WAIT IT GETS BETTER/WORSE. Because later in the game, they bring on the now-engaged couple for a brief in-game interview, AND THEY ASK ABOUT THE JERSEYS. Like, “So will it be a problem between you guys, having one of you rooting home and one away?” I think the guy in the couple stammered out something about how it would obviously not be an issue, BECAUSE THEY ARE BOTH YANKEES FANS WEARING YANKEE JERSEYS, AT YANKEE STADIUM.
It was completely surreal. If it hadn’t gone on for such an extended period of time I probably would have thought I’d just hallucinated it or something, but it went on and on and ON, and I could not ignore it.
DOES ANYBODY IN THE UNIVERSE CONSIDER SOMEONE WEARING AN AWAY JERSEY OF THEIR TEAM TO BE A RIVAL? I have never, ever encountered someone who thought this way. But to Buck and McCarver, it not only seems like a normal thing to think, it also is so obvious that they feel they can spend several innings discussing it.
I am desperately looking forward to Rod and Mario on Sunday.