Before I get too far into this post, I’m going to indulge in a bit of meta-writing, i.e., writing about writing, specifically about baseball. Some readers may have noticed that my output in this category has, over the years, steadily declined, down now to barely a trickle. I doubt any of you care: according to my stats, baseball is my least-read category.
After a year or so of writing about baseball I discovered that I mostly dislike doing it. Sportswriting is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult and tedious genres I’ve ever attempted, what with all the history, statistics, and the shadows of long-gone players (not to mention the ones still around!) looming over my shoulder, ready to pounce on the least little error. I’ve always been bored reading sportswriting; I’d estimate that only maybe 20% of it is any good. In fact, most of it is so bad that readers remember the names of the very few who do it well: Red Smith, Jimmy Breslin, Howard Cosell. After a few years plugging away at it, I finally decided life’s too short to waste it on researching hundred-year-old stats.
Once in awhile, though, when a personal drama or team dynamic emerges as the fascinating human saga they sometimes are, I’m drawn in. Not only do I want the details for personal consumption, I also want to spout my opinion on whatever’s going down. So here I am, at the end of the 2012 baseball season, with a few words to throw down.
Actually, it hardly seems like season’s end, what with a whole bunch of games still to be played, and nobody sure of what’s going on. A second wild card team was added to the endgame this year, generating even more confusion than usual. October is always confusing anyhow; nobody knows when who and where games will be played until the winners win and the losers lose. Maybe its just me, and I’m saying this to make myself feel better—but it seems to be universal. Announcers, for instance, aren’t calling “Magic Numbers” at the start of games this year; I think it’s because they’re clueless.
Even before this month it was a weird season for me. First there was the devastating absence of Jorge Posada, my favorite player—but at least I was prepared; I knew last season that Posada was leaving, being pushed out, so I had time to grieve. However: I never expected—and neither did anyone else—that Mariano Rivera (my Number Two Guy) would be injured and have to sit out the whole season. In fact, I figured Rivera’s accident was the result of some sort of voodoo retribution to avenge Jorge. (Guess I’ve been reading too many Haitian mysteries!) Everyone feared a major meltdown for the Yanks after Rivera’s collapse, but it turns out to be true that Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Rafael Soriano stepped up to the mound and became a terrific closer. That was definitely something to cheer about.
And, as in all of Major League Baseball, the Yankees had an extraordinary number of injuries this year: Andy Pettite, back on the mound after a year of retirement, broke his left fibula (that’s the leg bone) and was out of commission almost the entire season. More infuriating, because, I suspect, it was intentional, was A-Rod’s hand, broken after being slammed by “King” Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Why intentional, you ask? I’ll tell you why: this “accident” occurred during Ichiro Suzuki’s first game as a Yankee, the team he’d just left the Mariners to join; and during this game Hernandez also hit the above mentioned A-Rod, the above-mentioned Ichiro, and Captain Derek Jeter. Hello? It doesn’t take paranoia to put those pieces together. I cannot understand why these attacks weren’t at least investigated. Rather, Hernandez was named MVP. (Don’t worry, karma will get them: Mariners ended the season, not for the first time, with a losing record.)
My New Favorite Yankee (With apologies to Jorge)
I fell in love with one of our newbies: Raoul Ibanez.
That’s Raoul “he’s so cool” Ibanez. Raoul Ibanez, who in 2012 hit 19 homers (so far). Ten of these tied the game or gave the Yankees the lead! Raoul Ibanez, who seems to give the Yanks precisely what they need at the exact moment they need it!
Cool Raoul (sung to the tune of “Cool” from West Side Story)
Raoul Raoul, Cool Raoul
He’s such a cool boy
Breeze it, buzz it
Easy does it
Keep cool Raoul boy!
Don’t get hot
’cause man you got
some great games ahead.
Keep it slow
and you know
you can play with Yankees til you’re dead.
Raoul, cool Raoul
Stay cool boy
Got a rocket
in your pocket
Just keep it cool boy.
You’re so hot
You know you got
Some great games ahead
Take it slow
and you know
you can stay a Yankee til you’re dead.
Another Yankee earned a song this year (42 Saves!)
Rafael Soriano (Sung to the tune of Poinciana, a 1936 Cuban song)
He stepped in for Mariano
When a disaster took our closer
and we all thought “OY vey, it’s over!”
stepped right up for Mariano
I never thought someoe could do that
but Rafael, oh yes he did that.
He filled the shoes of Mariano
and he saved our team, the Yankees
so all we can say now is
Onward and upward to the playoffs and the World Series!
- Mo’s influence helps Soriano in journey as closer (mlb.mlb.com)
- Gritty Yanks avoid collapse (nypost.com)
- Ten reasons why Yankees are headed to playoffs (mlb.mlb.com)
- Ibanez’s heroics keep Yanks alone in first place (mlb.mlb.com)
- Rafael Soriano has filled in for Mariano Rivera without missing a beat (newsday.com)
- Ibanez rallies Yankees to win, New York holds lead (sacbee.com)
- Ibanez’ heroics leave Yankees in spot to take East tonight (nypost.com)