Wednesday, October 27, 2004
What can I say? It's Wednesday. By this time tomorrow night (early morning), the Red Sox may have gone 3-1 in the World Series.
Or (dare I say it? everyone else already has) they could have won it all.
Pedro Martinez pitched his first World Series game today. He got us one vital step closer to hanging up a brand new sign alongside that one.
Pedro today pitched a gem. Not a good game, not a tolerable game, not a keeping-them-down-until-we-can-stretch-in-our-bullpen kind of game. A real, honest-to-gosh, old school Pedro kind of game. The kind where he rocked a little in the first inning, then warmed up, settled down and completely destroyed the opposing batters. The kind where he looked dominant throughout.
There was no weak falter at the end to ruin our memory of him tonight. Francona took him out for the 8th, letting Timlin and Foulke finish the job, and Red Sox Nation should be forever grateful for this. If this is the last game Pedro ever plays in a Boston uniform, I don't want to remember him going off the field shaking his head, Cardinals dancing on the turf behind him. I want to remember him going out like he did tonight, pointing towards the sky, head raised in... reverence for the moment? Thanks for the opportunity to be there? Momentary spiritual peace? Overwhelming joy? It doesn't matter. What matters is that it happened tonight, and when Pedro left the mound he left all the 'Who's your daddy?' chants and all the Yankee-lost runs that hadn't been exorcised by the ALCS win out there behind him.
I had class last night from 7:30 to 9, but it's on North campus, which means that the actual times, accounting for transit, are closer to 7-9:30. All afternoon, in the scant few moments I had between lab, and lunch, and afternoon class, I had been checking the weather and every baseball site I could think of. It looked as though a rain delay was a certainty, maybe even a rain-out. By the time 6:55 rolled around, I was in an agony of indecision. Go to class? Skip class? I'm the sort of person who, for whatever unfathomable reason, never skips class unless I'm dying a slow and painful death, but I was perfectly and cheerfully willing to skip for a Red Sox World Series game. But if I skipped class and the game didn't even happen, or didn't start until I would have gotten home anyways... well. 'Consuming guilt' is one way of describing the likely reaction, although there are probably more colorful turns of phrase that one could use.
Waffling horribly, I resorted to the internet version of pacing: frantically flipping between the Sons of Sam Horn game thread and the Surviving Grady Message Board game thread, trying to glean any hint about the weather with which to advise myself. It was Amy, a poster on there, who voiced what some part of my brain was saying all along:
"My fellow college student: I don't know how important this class is. And I'm the same type of anal "it costs too much for my ass to not be in class" type of student. Which means you probably don't accidentally sleep late, you don't bug off when you just don't feel like going, etc. Even if they don't start on time, even if they lose tonight, it's still history. We've not been here since you and I were in diapers. Thus, I say stay home....This isn't a show. This is the World Series. Take a night off."
Clearly, I owe her, and everyone else over there who helped convince me to stick around, a Very Large Dollop of Thanks. I would never have forgiven myself if I had missed that game. For you see, by a stroke of the same unlikely and unprecedented luck that has surrounded us for much of this postseason, the clouds parted, the field drained*, and the game began right on time.
All the things we had worried about... Manny in the field, Millar out of the lineup, Ortiz at first, Pedro wielding a bat... washed away like worries from years ago. You could look back at them and see why they had concerned you, sort of, but you now view them with a bemused sort of tolerance: That's what worried me? Someone, somewhere has got to be kidding me, right? Our biggest gaffe in the field came when Trot Nixon went down on his back as he ran for the warning track, and that was the fault of the field conditions. Manny, unlikey as it seems, threw a man out at the plate. Ortiz, unlikely as it seems, gunned a routine out that had been flicked at him by Bellhorn to third after the runner (pitcher Jeff Suppan), confusing the third base coach's cries of 'Go! Go!' for 'No! No!', checked his dash for home. With meaningful hits coming out of Manny, Mueller, and Nixon, Millar's absence wasn't particularly noticeable. Pedro, after striking out at the plate, returned to the dugout all smiles, slapping high fives with his teammates, amused in a little-kid way at the whole scenario, and not in the least put off his pitching because of a failure to get on base.
I can't really say what's been going on with the Cardinals. I don't quite know what I expected out of this series, inasmuch as I had any expectations, but 3-0 going into Game 4 with Derek Lowe pitching was not up there. We knew, logically, that the Cardinals pitching rotation did not look all that wonderful, especially when matched with American League batting, but I don't think that anyone can account for the behavior (or, perhaps, nonbehavior) of the Cards' bats. Last night you can chalk it up to Pedro, but in a more general sense I can see no logical explanation for why their famous, hit-producing lineup should have suddenly decided to take pause.
Only a couple of hours left until Game Time. Some things to hold you until then, or after then, or whenever they are needed.
The Curt Schilling interview with Boston Dirt Dogs. Quality stuff, if a little heavy on the God stuff for the less avidly Christian of us out there. Highlight? Curt lambasting some select members of the media. Quote: "...People with so little skill in their profession that they need to speculate, make up, fabricate, to write something interesting enough to be printed. What makes them bad people? I am sure I cannot nail the exact reason, but I know some."
The 'Win it for...' thread on Sons of Sam Horn. You may or may not have heard of this. A poster on SoSH started a thread, naming people that he wanted to Red Sox to win this thing for, starting off with "...Johnny Pesky, who deserves to wear a Red Sox uniform in the dugout during the 2004 World Series." and finishing it with "Most of all, win it for James Lawrence Kelly, 1913-1986. This one's for you, Daddy. You always told me that loyalty and perseverance go hand in hand. Thanks for sharing the best part of you with me." The thread has accrued a ridiculous number of posts, some heart-warming, some tear-inducing, some smile-making. Read it. It's worth it.
Some quotes from last night's Surviving Grady game thread:
Relaying pregame TV coverage that the out of town folk weren't getting: "millar was doing an interview and behind him in the hallway comes d.lowe and he made this noise like a small animal in great pain. and then millar made it back at him as if they were conversing in some private language. it sounded like a primate house in there for a minute."--Beth
"this strike zone is making me want to put a taquito in my eye." --Amy
After McCarver called Pedro 'wily as a wolverine' for unknown, McCarver-ish reasons: "I was going to comment, but I googled it, and they are, apparently, quite wily." --Steve
Referring to Jason Varitek (see end of previous blog): "i believe i just chanted "rip your pants" to my roomate and TV" --javaquarius
"I can't compete with Billy [Mueller]'s ass, I'm afraid." --Steve
"I have been saying this for months. Foulke is hot. I don't know why he is, but he is." --Annette
Some things unrelated to baseball:
Yesterday in lab we were looking at musculature, which meant that I had to skin part of my shark. This is a lot harder than one would think (although, in reality, I have no idea how others think of skinning sharks, in terms of difficulty). It's actually, now that I think back on it, quite disgusting, although it wasn't at the time. The disgusting bit was trying to eat lunch afterwards, and going to my next class with the ambrosial scent of formalin still lingering in my nostrils.
Digital started today. My professor (or teacher, really... he's too young to be a proper professor, I think) took us down to one of the shops to see the laser cutter and the 3D printer, which we'll be using later in the class to actually make the models we'll create on Maya. Maya, for those who don't know, is the industry standard in 3D modelling and 3D animation. It retails for around $2000, and you have to pay to renew your license every year. We got it for $200, with a freely renewing license. I have to give the University enthusiastic props for getting us that deal.
I'm kind of excited for the class, as it promises to at the very least give me a minimal grounding in yet another high-powered program. Now if only someone would give me a few serious lessons in Final Cut Pro...
7:30. I'm going to go turn on ESPN or something and gnaw at myself until the game starts. One more win. It doesn't matter if we get it today, or in Game 7, so long as we get it. And I know full well that you can't count this thing over until the last out of the game has been called, for better or for worse.
But didn't last night feel good?
*When I say 'the field drained', I mean 'the field drained, except for the outfield and the warning track where Trot Nixon went down in a spray of water and mud, causing my heart to leap out of my throat and spatter distractingly on the computer screen, and causing a volley of verbal abuse to be hurled meaningfully at the St. Louis grounds crew, the scurvy lot of 'em.'