Thursday, June 15, 2006
I've had some time now to sit and ruminate on Tuesday's game, and it comes down to this.
Johan Santana is kind of a big deal.
I realize that this is no surprise, but he's always been something of a quiet worker. It's easy to forget about him for a minute, if you're not careful. That would be a grave mistake, but it's one that's easy enough to make.
By the end of the game, neither he nor Schilling had much to say about the outcome, which is a shame in one way and a good thing in another. I mean, to essentially nullify outings of that nature by both guys, it is a damn shame. But on the other hand, with both pitchers just feeding into the eternal Battle of the Bullpens, it's easier to look at their outings in a vaccuum-state, and when you do that, well. That's some mighty beautiful baseball, right there.
Schill's pitching can't be overlooked, he was every last bit as effective as Santana was. I'll be the first to admit that a good groundball pitcher with a solid infield defense makes me squidgy in the heart just as much as a K. An out is an out is an out. The stat-loving part of me knows and embraces that.
But the aesthetically-minded part of me, well, there's something about that strikeout. There's something that makes your heart stop a little bit when you see batter after batter swing 'round and hit air. It pleases the eye to fill a scorecard with tidy little Ks, even if at the same time you're grumbling because it's being done against your team.
If the end result is a wall of solid blue, maybe you can reach it by having a big machine spray paint it in one swipe, but if you reach it by having a team of artists paint it blue, there's a different quality there. In the end you've got a blue wall. But that second wall, if you watched them painting it, little individual brushes masterfully wielded. Well. The ends are the same, so it's a bit irrational in one sense.
But there's something to be said for the means.
Johan Santana, he's got the means up to his ridiculously lovely dark eyeballs.
And sometimes, painful as it is, you're still thankful, as a fan of baseball, that you get to see mastery at work. I'm sure even Schilling would admit that.
As for Matt Clement... who? Who's Matt Clement?
(That image at the top of the post, by the by, is my current desktop. Click to get the big version. Knock yourselves out.)
Labels: baseball, Johan Santana, MLB