Thursday, September 24, 2009

Riding High But Feeling For Mo

Good morning, Fackers. They might have had to do it the hard way, but the Yankees pulled off a road series victory against their nemesis, the Angels, in the one place that, for whatever reason, they really struggle to win games. These three games were framed as a litmus test for the team and while you can challenge the validity of that premise, but the results were conclusive; the Yanks passed.

Somewhat apropos to each of the cities, leaving Seattle, it was all doom and gloom. Now, departing from Los Angeles, things are looking much brighter.

The way that the last two games unfolded, tense battles of the bullpen with late lead changes, had those who stayed awake or left work early to watch them hanging on every pitch. A-Rod stepped up, going 3 for 8 in the series with two home runs, 4 RBIs and a decisive sacrifice fly to win the second contest. Andy Pettitte, Chad Gaudin and A.J. Burnett all put forward representative performances although each was viewed as a potential liability coming into the series.

Mariano Rivera also bounced back from his blown save in Seattle by saving the final two games of the series, protecting a one run lead in both of them. They weren't cheapies. He allowed one baserunner to start each outing, but neither advanced past first.

After the home run to Ichiro, Tyler Kepner published this article about Rivera intertwining with Phil Hughes' role as a set up man, nailing the essence of the man thusly:
Such mastery of the mental and physical cloaks Rivera in a kind of mysticism. He is a team captain without the title, a touchstone for teammates. To Hughes, he is an inspiration, even without many words.
Rivera's job description provides enough mental challenges, but Mo has probably had even more on his mind as of late (hat tip to the indispensable Baseball Think Factory).

Puerto Caimito, the small fishing village on the southern coast of Panama where he grew up and still keeps a home, has been struck by some pretty serious flooding and storm surges causing the canals of the city to fail. Three people are dead, dozens more injured and hundreds more unable to return to their homes. (Articles in Spanish)

We've talked a little bit about Latin American baseball lately, but didn't get into what it must be like for these guys to leave much of their families behind even though they have probably surpassed their wildest dreams in terms of wealth and success. An event like this has to make that infinitely harder.

It's worth noting that Rivera had to return home to his house in the same town in between the 2004 ALDS and ALCS because his wife's cousin and his son were electrocuted while cleaning his pool. Either by purposeful omission out of respect or forgetfulness, this is never cited as a reason for Mo's struggles in that series, although the travel must have taken something out of him and it must have weighed heavily on his mind.

The fact that we haven't heard about the flooding from the beat writers via Rivera or the Yankees almost certainly means that his family was not affected. Hopefully that is the case and for the people of Puerto Caimito in general and Mariano and his family in particular, the worst of it is over.


  1. That's a good point about Mariano and potential distractions, Jay, and Mariano has always been connected with events in Panama, especially for aid and relief. Goodness knows how things in my life get me down and sometimes sap my motivation. He was brilliant yesterday and the night before. He shrugs off what few setbacks beset him better than anyone else I've ever seen.

    The series win was great, especially in two one-run wins. That the Yanks did it yesterday without a few starters and a couple key relievers is all the more impressive. I'm riding high indeed on that.

  2. Oh Jay Jay, still making excuses for 2004 are we? Why can't you just accept that the Yankees choked the big one and it had nothing to do with some kids cleaning a silly old pool. The reason that it is never mentioned is because the Mighty Mighty Boston Asskickers kicked the Yankees ass 4 games in a row without the help of pool cleaning electrocution therapy for Mo.

  3. Um, Anonymous Asshead, Jay didn't make an excuse for 2004. Rather, he discussed the problems in Mariano's personal life regarding why HE might have struggled, not the team. Stop being a douchebag. If not, screw off.

  4. Ummmmmmmmm Jason from The Fartland, Jay was insinuating that Mo blew those games because of a personal tragedy which is just a disgusting lie to take away from the glory of the Mighty Mighty Boston Asskickers!

  5. Anonymous Jackass, you're really not very bright. You just rephrased what I said Jay said, then tried yet again to package this into some rhetorical masturbatory glory for your second-place team, as if Jay slighted Boston. Give your unvarnished nonsense a rest already. You're making yourself look like an astounding idiot the more you post.