Thanks, Paul Simon! In five lines, you managed to take us from Boston to Detroit. I guess there was another song in my library that talks about sweeping. I have absolutely no idea what that song means, or who the fuck "Papa Hobo" is supposed to be, but that pretty much nailed it.
Anyway, tonight in the spacious confines of Comerica Park, CC Sabathia looks to stop the Yanks' 3 game slide before it starts getting really ugly. He opposes Justin Verlander who has given up 21 runs in his four starts on the year. After winning the AL Rookie of the Year in 2005 and finishing 5th in Cy Young Voting in '06, Verlander posted a 4.84 ERA last year and lost 17 games.
I was at Yankee Stadium in for Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS, the game in that series that Verlander started. It took place on a Thursday afternoon, but was supposed to have been played the night before. I got there pretty early that Wednesday, because it was the first Yankees playoff game I'd ever been to. Verlander had been throwing right alongside my seat down the third baseline, and I was close enough to hear him ask whoever he was tossing the ball with "Why the fuck no Yankees were on the field". Although it wasn't raining, the Yanks waited until gametime to announce that the game was delayed, even though it was pretty obvious the decision had already been made. Apparently they didn't give the Tigers a heads up either.
I was alone, which kind of sucked, but I grabbed a few beers and a shitty poncho and hung out in my seat, just taking in the strange atmosphere. When nine o'clock rolled around, even though it had stopped raining, they called the game. Everyone was puzzled, but more so pissed that they had wasted their whole night. (It started torrentially downpouring about 45 minutes later)
I came back on Thursday, but the Stadium was at maybe 75% capacity. The emptiness and fact that it was a day game sort of robbed the playoff atmosphere. I still have a vivid memory of the 8th inning when Curtis Granderson robbed Gary Sheffield on a scorched line drive and then Joel Zumaya struck out Giambi and A-Rod through the shadows, touching 103mph on the Yankee Stadium radar gun. The Yanks lost 3-4 that day, dropped the next two in Comerica and I didn't get the chance to use my Game 5 tickets.
Of course, Zumaya and Verlander (who was also breaking 100 on the gun that day) are nowhere near the dominant flamethrowers they were that year. It makes you wonder if, in the era that baseball is in now where steroid use is presumably declining, anyone can last throwing that kind of heat. I would tend to think not. Your move, Strasburg.