Three nights, three games, three pitchers: it was all the same story. Philadelphia pitchers pummeled A-Rod on every one of his first at-bats. The first time, you figure, maybe it was intentional, maybe not. Second time, you strongly suspect something’s going on. Third time, it’s obvious their pitchers agreed beforehand to hit A-Rod at the start of every game. Even the umpires–who haven’t been all that sharp lately–knew it, and they met for a huddle in the middle of the field. When they broke, they issued a warning to BOTH teams: another hit-by-pitch to anyone, and whoever lobbed the ball will be O-U-T of the game.
If you ask me, Joe Blanton, last night’s vicious pitcher, should’ve been tossed right away. Everyone knew the hit was intentional. The umpires added insult to injury, as the Yankees were the ones who really got punished. They couldn’t retaliate, or they’d lose their ace pitcher, CC Sabathia. I was pissed off all through the game, and could hardly stand the sight of a player in red.
Which brings me to this coincidence of colors: while Yankee uniforms are blue-and-white, the teams I most dislike all seem to wear red-and-white. Boston Red Sox. Angels. Cleveland Indians. And now, Philadelphia. At games played in a red team’s stadium, the park is a sea of bright red; in New York it’s all blue. The funny part of this is…well, I’m sure I don’t have to spell it out. Blue States, Red States: Conservative/Republican, Liberal/Democrat. Coincidence?
Winning Is The Best Revenge
But the Phillies got their punishment, and in the most productive way possible. Here they were, giving their fans a thrill, keeping up with the Yankees–until the ninth inning, when in a two-out rally Johnny Damon made a play sure to go down in history: after a nine-pitch at-bat that came this close to an out at least twice, he got a base hit, then stole second base…and when he saw nobody was covering third, he ran like hell, and made it. When A-Rod came to bat and got a base hit, Damon scored the go-ahead run. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in baseball; I was screaming and jumping around my living room.
The Phillies didn’t score in the ninth, of course, with Mariano Rivera pitching, and besides, I suspect they were too demoralized. The Yankees won the game, 7-4; the series now stands at 3-1. If the blue team wins tonight, it’s all over but the partying. With Cliff Lee coming back to the pitcher’s mound for Philadelphia, there’s a possibility that won’t happen. But even if it doesn’t, then the Yankees will finish things off the next night–which might be better anyway, since they’ll be back in New York.
What a game! What a team!