Saturday, October 31, 2009
World Series 2009
The New York Yankees disposed of the Los Angeles Angels from Anaheim last Sunday night to secure a berth in this year’s World Series. Somewhat surprisingly, the last time that the Bombers from the Bronx participated in the Fall Classic was half a dozen years ago. It just seems like they are there every year.
Despite the large number of sluggers on the squad, they reached the final clawing and scratching at the Angels’ pitching staff. They showed patience at the plate as well, drawing several walks in key situations. In the final game, the winning run was scored on a bases-loaded walk. That is enough to drive any manager to distraction.
The Yankee got outstanding pitching from one of their off-season acquisitions, C.C. Sabathia. The gentle giant mowed down Angel hitters in his appearances, and garnered MVP honours for the championship series. He stands six feet, seven inches, and is just shy of three hundred pounds. He stands on a mound of dirt about thirty inches above the rest of the field. He unloads the baseball at almost one hundred miles per hour. The distance between the mound and home plate is six inches more than twenty yards.
The Yankees also got good pitching performances from Andy Pettitte and A. J. Burnett. The relieving staff, with one exception, has become a little bit suspect. That exception, of course, is the incomparable Mariano Rivera. The Panamanian has baffled hitters since he was signed by the Yankees almost twenty years ago. His fastball does not have the same zip that it did when he signed. No matter. He has adjusted by adding nasty little glitches to his delivery that make him the best relief pitcher in baseball. Ever.
Although he signed in 1990, he did not make his first Major League appearance until 1995. Since then, he has amassed records in many categories. For example, he now has almost forty postseason saves in his career. Second on the list is Dennis Eckersley with fifteen! Rivera, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter have all played fifteen seasons with the Yankees. They are the longest serving, active players with one team in the big leagues today. Loyal, and likely quite wealthy, too.
To his credit, Rivera makes an effort to give back to the game. He has been honoured with the “Citizen Award” from latinobaseball.com for his commitment to the well-being of children throughout the Americas. He helped finance construction of a new elementary school and a church building in Puerto Caimito, Panama. He does what he can to enrich the lives of Panamanians in the off-season, with gifts to many of the local children.
The Philadelphia Phillies have been waiting for the Yankees. They are the reigning World Series Champions, and are not about to concede the title to anyone. They disposed of the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are well prepared to face the Yankees in an East Coast shootout which will concluded some time in November.
The Yankees pitching staff will face Jimmy Rollins, Chase Uttley, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and company for the next week or so. And the Yankee batters will have to contend with Cliff Lee, Raul Ibanez, and “El Perfecto” Pedro Martinez, one-time favourite Montreal Expo.
It all begins, weather permitting, on Wednesday night in the Bronx. They will head to Philly for a chilly Hallowe’en encounter Saturday night. Hide your children. It will be a scary affair!
October 26, 2009