I didn’t watch the whole rebroadcast from start-to-finish, but even though I was channel surfing…*
*Incidentally, there’s a new infomercial with this creepy guy who’s selling some kind of joint juice. He’s being interviewed by a doctor on a Larry King-style set and he looks, acts, sounds and has the same mannerisms, accent and vocal inflections as Kevin Trudeau. I’d hate to think Trudeau’s found a way to clone himself, but it’s quite possible.
…I watched enough of the broadcast to notice a couple of things I found interesting:
Jackie Robinson’s famed intensity and gamesmanship:
We’ve all heard about the toughness Jackie showed in his climb to the big leagues; how he battled his way through the adversity—-on and off the field—-and played the game at 1000 miles an hour from the first pitch to the last.
Any player who steals home in a World Series game; defiantly stands on the field to make sure Bobby Thomson touches all the bases after his pennant winning homer for the Giants in 1951 even as his Dodgers teammates are filing off the field dejectedly; told Don Newcombe to “get out there and pitch” when Newcombe complained about a tired arm in the waning days of that season; and chose to retire rather than join the hated Giants after being traded by the Dodgers, doesn’t need to have any more accolades placed on him regarding how tough a competitor he was and the circumstances with which he dealt, but in Larsen’s perfect game, there was something else.
Late in the game, Jackie went to the plate as Larsen was rolling along with his groove and rocking chair motion, mowing the Dodgers down; Jackie stopped just as Larsen was about to deliver and acted as if he had something in his eye. (It didn’t look like he really did.) He paused, messed around for a minute, wandered back to the on deck circle, chatted with Gil Hodges, fiddled with his bat and went back up to the plate and grounded back to Larsen.
In today’s game, if Jackie tried something like that, there’d be screaming from the Yankees dugout to get in the box and stop trying to use such gamesmanship. There’d be press conferences and Curt Schilling-style whining about the “proper” way to play the game. What makes it even more of a tribute to Jackie’s way of playing the game is that the players were allowed to take care of things like that on the field if they felt the need; and the batters weren’t wearing helmets or body armor. Somehow, I don’t think any of that would’ve mattered if he were playing today though, because Jackie Robinson would’ve done the exact same thing.
Sal Maglie’s motion with runners on base:
Billy Martin was on first base with two outs in the seventh inning after singling. With Gil McDougald at the plate, Maglie not only didn’t even look at Martin on first base, but he was essentially pitching from an abbreviated windup and bringing his hands almost over his head. Martin could’ve crawled to second base if he’d wanted to, yet he stayed put.
McDougald eventually walked, moving Martin to second. Maglie again went into his abbreviated windup, hands almost over his head, slowly enough that Cecil Fielder would be able to steal the base (not during his career either; he’d be able to make it today); yet Martin stayed put.
Several questions come up from this. Was Maglie that intimidating with his reputation and nickname (The Barber) that no one would dare to try and make him angry enough to throw at them with the intent of really hitting them in the head instead of just knocking them down? Why would Martin, who made his playing and managerial career with outright aggressiveness and taking anything and everything his opponents gave (and didn’t give) him suddenly stand passively by with the bottom of the lineup coming to the plate? Wouldn’t taking third base have been a good idea with only a 2-0 lead and the possibility of swiping a run due to a wild pitch right there in front of him?
I know that there were only three bases stolen in the entire seven game series, but with the way the pitcher wasn’t paying any mind to the baserunners and was intentionally using a stretch that wasn’t a stretch at all, it appeared as if there was an unsaid understanding that no one was going to steal, and I don’t get it, especially since it was Martin running the bases.
- Derek Lowe is unsatisfied with the Mets 3-year, $36 million offer:
It can’t be easy for a pitcher like Lowe, who not only was expecting to get somewhere close to $90 million guaranteed, to have to settle for less than half of that; and I can see why he would hold out for some more money and hope that another team jumps in, but unless the Braves spend some of the money they had allocated for A.J. Burnett and Rafael Furcal on Lowe; or the Phillies jump in (and keep in mind that they’re eventually going to have to take care of Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels if they want to keep them), Lowe hasn’t got anywhere else to go.
The Mets have said that they’re not going to get into a bidding war, but I would up the offer (within reason) to Lowe to make sure they get him. Lowe’s about as close to guaranteed as any free agent out there to provide what’s expected (32 starts; 200+ innings; 13-16 wins) as any team’s going to get; and
while there doesn’t appear to be any team who’s going to approach the Mets offer, why take the chance? An added asset for Lowe is that even if he’s unable to handle the workload of being a starter by the end of his contract, he’s a pitcher who’s been successful as a reliever and would be of use in that role in the final year of his deal. The Mets are playing with house money right now after getting Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez at a major discount and trading for J.J. Putz. To let another pitcher they want go elsewhere would be a mistake.