Saturday, June 13, 2009

I got it! I got it! Oops! I guess I don't.

Of the thousands of baseball games I've either played in, watched, coached or covered in my lifetime I've never seen a finish like Friday night's game in which Mets second-baseman Luis Castillo dropped Alex Rodriguez's two-out, ninth-inning pop-up, allowing the tying and winning runs to score on the play.

As my good friend and longtime Yankees fanatic, Joe Peluso, astutely pointed out, the unsung hero on the play was Mark Teixeira, who was off on the pitch and scored all the way from first base with the run that gave the Bronx Bombers a 9-8 gift-wrap victory.

I dare say the vast majority of players in Teixeira's situation would have just jogged around the bases in anticipation that the game was over.

To his credit, Teixiera followed Yogi Berra's "it ain't over till it's over'' advice. He went all-out, and his hustle paid off in an unexpected victory.

This is what's great about sports. Just when you think you've seen it all . . .


Speaking of the improbable, many thought the Detroit Red Wings would wrap up their fifth Stanley Cup in 12 years Friday night with a victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Instead, the Pens went into Motown and upset the defending champs, 2-1.

And they did so without Sidney Crosby for almost the final two periods. Sid the Kid returned for just one innocuous shift after being slammed into the boards early in the second period. Despite nursing bruised ribs, he was well enough to accept the Cup from NHL commish Gary Bettman and skate halfway around Joe Louis Arena before handing off the trophy to a teammate.

The 21-year-old Crosby became the youngest captain of a Stanley Cup champion.

The bad news for Buffalo Sabre fans as well as fans of any NHL team but the Penguins is that each member of Pittsburgh's starting lineup is under the age of the 30 and is locked up contractually for several years.

Meaning Lord Stanley's Cup could be residing in the Steel City for several years to come.


With the Cup and the Lombardi Trophy in hand, Pittsburgh could lay claim as the current "city of champions.'' (Sadly, their once-proud baseball franchise continues to drag them down.).


I might have to put my wife, Beth, on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder. She was game enough to play catch with me twice so I could get ready for my 19th Century Base Ball opener tomorrow. But she's complaining of tightness in her shoulder. Guess I'm going to have to baby her next time, and keep her on a tighter pitch count.


A little known fact from my friend, Curt Kirchmaier:

The first testicular guard "cup" was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.

As Curt says, "It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important."


jq said...

Scott, I almost(for purely envious reasons being a Met fan!)gave you a thumbs down..however I realized that wouldn't be fair as your take was accurate (as usual) was a great hustle play by frustration is really with with Mets...injuries aside...they have displayed little heart and play a very nonchalant style (other than a handful of players..i.e. D.Wright for one) oh well at least I'm a NY football Giants fan and not a Buffalo Bills follower. Keep up the good work! JQ

Scott Pitoniak said...

Hey Jim,

I don't mind thumbs down. They keep me in line. Yankee fans feel the same frustration when their team plays the Red Sox. Boston owns them this year - and in recent years for that matter. Following the Bills has been frustrating. But I give their fan base credit. They've sold 52,000 season tickets despite playing in the NFL's second smallest market and not having made the playoffs in a decade. Please keep reading and commenting.

jq said...

Scott, You got it. I have always enjoyed your articles/takes and think you should (and will) have a much bigger stage in the near future...As a son of a writer(unfortunately the gift skipped at least a generation) I recognize your writing acumen. Yanks-15 season can't get here fast enough...And I agree Bills fans are very passionate(and under appreciated by Bills management). Keep up the good brother, Tim, in Colorado is now a member.